SOLAS - Waiting for an Echo

Waiting for an Echo , Solas’ seventh album, combines energetic instrumental tracks with beautifully performed songs, and mixes traditional and modern musical elements. Their unique style has served them well in the past and does not fail them here.

The five-member ensemble has carefully chosen and arranged each of the thirteen tracks. Using a predominantly acoustic style, they have allowed the raw feel of the music to lead them. The vocals, both from Deirdre Scanlon and from Mick McAuley, are well suited to the material, whether traditional or contemporary. Scanlon does a particularly nice job on the slightly odd ‘On a Sea of Fleur de Lis’, while McAuley shines on the haunting ‘ Erin ’. As a special treat, ‘The Night Visit’, of Kate Rusby fame, is included with the interesting twist that the singer is now male.

The instrumental pieces hold their own against such lovely singing with fiddler Winifred Horan providing appropriate backup and taking the lead on several tracks. Seamus Egan and Eamon McElholm both supply excellent musical skills and play a shocking number of instruments between them.

The only complaint I have about this album is the lack of Irish-language songs. Usually the group includes one or two on their albums and so the absence is conspicuous.

The finished product is a solidly constructed album that is great to listen to any time of day and in any mood. Shifting between tempos and styles, this recording mixes instrumental and vocal pieces with great craftsmanship. A wonderful new effort from a group that seldom disappoints.

Jean Price

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This album was reviewed in Issue 63 of The Living Tradition magazine.