Into June,
The Lost Lyric
(self-produced, 2000)

This is a short record, a collection of seven songs, and is the debut of Scottish folk artists Into June. At the centre of their sound is lead singer Donald Lindsay's small bagpipe. I've always liked the sound of bagpipes -- if you don't, then this isn't the band for you.

Of the seven tracks, three are instrumental; and Lindsay's pipe figures prominently in the other four, at times to the detriment of the songs. The vocals were mixed a little too low, which makes them hard to hear. Joining Lindsay are bandmates Sheryl (harmony vocal, fiddle, clarinet, recorders) and Ali R (guitar and vocals).

As for the songs with words, they are so simple that it is difficult to listen to them more than once. I put that down to inexperience -- with practice, Lindsay could be a better songwriter. He's a talented musician -- tracks like the melancholy "Melrose Abbey Ruin" show his prowess on the pipes. The solemnity of the ruin is conveyed in the haunting, tender playing.

The highlight of the record is "The Lady's Lover (The Gardener)," which incorporates a traditional tale of a gardener with the story of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. Lindsay shows his wit in this song of love and horticulture.

If you like piping, you'll probably enjoy these songs. I'm more interested in hearing what the band can do lyrically with a little practice and some time.

[ by Rachel Jagt ]