The Whistlebinkies,
(Greentrax, 2006)

Listening to the fresh sound of this album, I was amazed to realize that the Whistlebinkies started back in the heyday of pop legends like the Beatles in the 1960s. They revived the great instruments of Scottish traditional music, such as the bellow blown bagpipes and the small Scottish harp, and on their new recording Albannach these magical instruments give a wonderous depth and feeling to the music.

The mellow depth of the sound cannot be given a fair review in words. It has to be heard by both ear and heart.

The majority of the tracks are instrumental, but when vocals are added -- such as on "Toys & Brooches" -- you understand that the brilliance of their instrumental expertise is matched on vocals. The notes tell us that the lyrics are adapted from some verses of Robert Louis Stevenson.

The title track is a suite composed for a 1985 theatre production, and it takes us magnificently through the various stages of a young islander as he goes to live in Glasgow.

Although they are expert interpreters of Scottish music -- old or new -- the band is keen to experiment. On "Muntanyes de Canigo" they bring us travelling with a beautiful Catalan tune.

This is an album that must be heard.

by Nicky Rossiter
24 June 2006