It's big, bold, brassy,
and adventurous, and it's live - play LOUD - and enjoy! For those sad
individuals that didn't actually see the Suspects live (including yours
truly), here's your consolation prize. David Milligan and Corrina Hewat
have assembled, for your delight, the most riotous bunch of Scottish musicians
ever (32 of them). This whirlwind of sound takes Scottish music to unimagined
heights - and decibel levels - from the gloriously vibrant opening track
'The Big Set,' to the closing, pipe-dominated 'Encore'.
There's tunes by Eilidh Shaw, Charlie McKerron, John McCusker, Corrina
Hewat, David Milligan, Kathryn Tickell, Rory Campbell, Gordon Duncan,
Leo McCann, Phil Bancroft and more besides. How to sum up the album's
expansive, dynamic sound? It lies somewhere between a massed ensemble
of every fiddle band you care to name and Jools Holland's R&B Orchestra
- and the effect is sensational. Sound, by Cammy Young, is excellent.
Recorded at Eden Court, Inverness, the audience clearly had a fantastic
Things DO slow down now and again - on 'Sae Will We Yet', 'Donald MacGillavry',
and 'Follow The Heron'. There's a thrilling few minutes on 'Solo' where
Phil Bancroft and Ewen Vernal improvise on sax/double bass. It's straight
into 'Bass Strathspey Set', where wildly discordant sax and pipes lead
to a bold, logical conclusion involving the whole ensemble. I wonder what
folk fans make of all of this jazzy stuff? Moments of rollicking craic
and humour are found in 'Bulgarian Ceilidh' & 'Fiddle Frenzy'. 'Intro'
is a gloriously mellow maelstrom of Celtic lyricism and groove, whilst
'Box Set' lets the box do the talking. The brass section sparkles throughout
the entire recording.
Is this the best live folk orchestra Scotland ever saw? What a statement
Hewat & Milligan make with this album!