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SIMON THOUMIRE & IAN CARR - He Thinks He's Invisible

SIMON THOUMIRE & IAN CARR - He Thinks He's Invisible
Footstomping Records CDFSRHOOTZ2

I got Ian and Simon's first album Hootz when I was at the Shetland Folk Festival way back in 1991. At the time I was blown away by their performances on stage – Ian's stunning (if somewhat unconventional) command of the guitar and Simon's inventiveness on the concertina, coupled with their devilish ability to do things that nobody else could (or would want to) think of. A mixture of traditional and self-penned music in totally off the wall settings along with jazzy riffs and rhythms and things which sound downright wrong yet are somehow fantastic at the same time! I bought the album then and am still listening to it to this day. Twenty years on and the two lads come up with the sequel and it doesn't disappoint.

They hadn't worked together for some 15 years until they got a call to ask if they would perform at the 30th Shetland Folk Festival in 2010 and rehearsals started on the boat on the way across. This album is a direct result of that regrouping.

It opens with two tunes Provost Of Forgandenny / Jimmy's Aye Diggin', two gentle, melodic tunes which lead the listener into a totally false sense of security. As the album progresses it becomes more of what I would expect from Ian and Simon. By track three (Da Fashion O Da Delting Lasses/ Christmas Day In Da Morning / Arizona Moods) they're in full Toumire/Carr swing – unexpected twists and turns, odd rhythms, seemingly unconnected counter melodies and weird and wacky goings on (including Ian changing between guitar tunings in mid flight!).

Lots of Ian Carr tunes are featured along with a few of Simon's and some traditional material – not that it necessarily sounds traditional! Look out for a disconcertingly different version of the old favourite Calliope House - it took me a while to realise what it was!

It does take a few listens to get into the swing of what they are up to, but, if you are a Simon Thoumire or Ian Carr fan, you will enjoy this. Virtuoso, madcap, exhilarating stuff.

One thing is for sure – you won't fall asleep listening to it!

Jim Byrne

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This album was reviewed in Issue 102 of The Living Tradition magazine.