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Private Label MIL0501

Even if you're a died-in-the-sixties purist, it's hard not to like this album. If you're at all excited by the eclecticism in traditional music since the eighties, you'll love Millish. Their music is innovative and original, but follows in the footsteps of Flook, Fleck, Fraser Fifield, Lúnasa, Moving Hearts, At First Light and others. With a basic line-up of fiddle/mandolin, whistle/pipes, guitar and percussion, the band's sound is somewhere between jazz quartet and folk-rock group. The material on this debut CD is mainly their own, with a few standards from the folk world (The Scholar, The Dusty Miller, Chetvorno Horo) as well as compositions by Brubeck, Page and Plant. It's all good stuff, imaginatively arranged, with plenty of catchy little riffs and hooks and all that attractive jazz-rock garnish. A bit of Balkan, a dash of salsa, some humorous moments and a few funky effects: Millish have put a great deal of thought and skill into each track here.

All four members of Millish contribute big time, although Tyler Duncan's whistle takes most of the melody lines. Brad Phillips' fiddle shines on the cool jazz-swing number Blue Rondo and the driving Colleen's Reel, in addition to his uncanny recreation of Ian Page's performance of Stairway To Heaven at the legendary 1977 Seattle concert. Jesse Mason's acoustic guitar steals the limelight at times, and is a key component of the arrangements, as is Mike Shimmin's wide-ranging percussion (Shimmin and Duncan are also members of The Olllam, by the way). Nothing is overdone on this recording, I never found myself wishing the pace would pick up or the intros would end. Millish have produced an album which is an unalloyed joy to hear, and an album cover which is visually stunning: you can appreciate both at, well worth a visit. For once, I don't have a bad word to say, except perhaps to mention the intrusive notes of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life which suddenly appear towards the end of the Led Zep tribute. What's that about, guys?

Alex Monaghan


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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.