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Hoover the Dog - "Distempo" - DOG2

Okay. I will come clean. I never heard their previous album "Scratch 'n' Sniff", and had only vaguely heard of this trio. And, yep I will admit it: I find there is something immensely IRRITATING about their name. Had it a comma, between words one and two, one could see it as a open insult to "J. Edgar", who undid all the good work of Danny La Rue, when it came to the promotion of "cross-dressing". But as it is, unpunctuated, it just hangs in the air like a Zen Buddhist aphorism.

So when I got this album for review my heart sank faster than the sun on the Equator. Some "pretentious avant garde folk" (thought I) performed by characters who have undergone a charisma bypass, and think up daft names for their albums, in an effort to give them an "individuality" that in truth they don't possess. How wrong could one man be? It was ME who was the daft one, even just THINKING such thoughts. The truth is that this album has much to commend it.

It is largely instrumental, and the tunes (unlike the songs) are composed by the band member(s). I note that the group spurned the chance to tell us more about the album in the liner notes: we are given two blank pages inside the front and back cover. Perhaps this may be to tell us that we must make of it what we will: but rather, I suspect it is because there is no theme or pattern to the album. And why SHOULD there be? Truth is, it is mainly just fine driving Celtic music, played by three highly capable musicians. The most remarkable thing is the depth of the sound: you would swear that the three had had the aid of at least two session men - but the CD sleeve gives no such intimation - such is the BIG attacking sound their piano accordion, guitar, fiddle and bouzouki makes. And the vocals by Tony Harris, show a guy with a very assured singing style. Mind you, can we now have a moratorium on recording "Beeswing" ?! Particularly when there are so many equally good "undiscovered" songs about.

But you know something? You could do a lot worse than buy this album. And I too, shall try to make a point of catching a ceilidh of theirs.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.