Turning Tide
(Greentrax, 2006)

Come with Shoormal on a beautiful journey through music to an enchanting place. This is music born of the wild, wonderful Shetland Islands, but it is also redolent of the warm feelings of community, love and contentment.

The band has performed together for less than a decade, but this is their third album. The quality of the music, writing and performing is incredible coming from a relatively young band, both in the ages of the members and the short time performing -- their first ever full Scottish tour was undertaken this year.

"Turning Tide" is a marvelous track using many dialect pronunciations in the lyrics that give a truly authentic feel to the song. A favourite track for me is "Full Circle." The lyrics are simple but effective and the backing fits just perfectly both to the theme and the sentiments expressed.

The track "Stone's Throw" is another lovely piece that has a jazzy feel that one can imagine being performed in a smoke-filled pub with patrons tapping along on the tables. For a song to transport you to the natural world, go no further than "Woods in Winter."

All the action does not take place to the wild north of Scotland. "Texas Sky" is a sort of reverse emigration song that works to great effect. The track ends after a time of silence with a fantastic short piece called "When I Get Home," so leave that CD playing or you might miss this gem.

by Nicky Rossiter
9 December 2006