Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Haystack HAYCD011

A second album from this band born in the Newcastle traditional music scene is welcome and intriguing: you never know quite what these youngsters are going to come up with. Mutation certainly isn't your usual ceilidh band set - you can dance to most tracks, but you're as likely to slip into a punk pogo routine as a Petronella or a Pride of Erin. Don't be deceived by the slow start to Venus; things hot up pretty quickly, and that planet's steamy acid atmosphere is actually not a bad metaphor for much of this album. Trouser Worrier is a frantic little number - think small dog chasing tail - before the traditional Lusty puts an entirely new face on Northumbrian 3/2 hornpipes.

There are a couple more traditional tunes here - The Beeswing by Dundonian Geordie James Hill, and The Crooked Bridge from the Scottish pipe and fiddle repertoire - but most of the material on Mutation was composed by band members. Accordionist Amy Thatcher and fiddler Shona Mooney (both of The Shee and other bands) contribute a handful between them, including the punchy Octopus and toe-tapping reel, Reasoning. Guitarist Kieran Szifris penned the funky Never Will and Miss Carly Blain Of Kelso. Fiddler Grace Smith provides the final track, a dance number which reminds me of modern Scottish pipe tunes with its insistent rhythm and repeated, almost trance-like, motifs. Drummer and bassist Joseph Truswell and David de la Haye just sit there and play - but they do it very well, keeping the beat and moulding the bedrock on which these pieces stand. The whole ensemble is exciting, invigorating, impossible to classify but easy to enjoy, with just enough weirdness to keep things interesting. Try it for yourself. 

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Many CDs we review are available from The Listening Post.
Check to see if this CD is available.

The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.