The Prodigals,
(Grab, 2006)

The Prodigals, a Celtic quartet consisting of Eamon Ellams, Gregory Grene and Ed Kollar, and vocals from Eamon O'Tuama, play some of the most polite Celtic rock you can imagine. Everything is tasteful, calm and controlled; there are no explosions of energy, no feeling like the one you get from so many of the Celtic bands, that of a band is walking out on the edge, taking big risks and hoping they'll pay off.

That's not the way the Prodigals do things. Even their lyrics are polite:

What should I do
What should I do (what should I do)
Night and day
I dream of you my dream of you.

Or these from "Troubled Days:"

All the waves that go rolling by rolling by
all the days that go sailing by
bring us all back home
bring us all back home

As you can see, repetition is a strong structural element in their music. The lyrics repeat key statements so that days don't just go by, it's more that "Days go by, so slowly by." Even the instrumental structure is built on repetition. The typical song begins with a guitar figure (or sometimes a drum figure) that is repeated until another instrument, typically the bass, joins in. After a few bars of that, the button accordian comes in, stating a melody, which is built on repetition.

All of this is played and sung politely; no one would think of raising a voice or cutting loose with a raunchy solo -- or even an unexpected idea, for that matter.

The problem with Momentum is that it never builds any.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

17 May 2008

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