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Braccan Records BRCD9001

The Salts are a co-operative of seasoned musicians, creating what is fast becoming one of the most exciting and energetic folk concepts of recent times, where 21st century folk fires a respectful broadside at the traditional. Their songs are of a nautical nature, and Brave is the band’s second album, carrying on the penchant for rocking up sea shanties. Certainly their swashbuckling energy and fire-cracked enthusiasm makes a riveting addition to the folk scene.

Big size shanty choirs are common in Germany and America. Here, however, the shanty was more often sung as an addition to a repertoire, rather than a featured area of song, and bands playing shanties with the energy and attack of The Salts are few and far between.

The band’s energy and articulation is highly obvious when listening to Brave. Bulgine Run and Fire Marengo are two fiery up-tempo tracks; their infectious grooves, befitting work songs and pump shanties, are played with a commendable gallop, balancing earthiness, a solid groove and (on Bulgine Run) neat almost Beach Boys style harmonies.

The lead vocals are raw and unvarnished, but with highly polished backing harmonies. The group seems like it is really enjoying the process of revitalising this often forgotten aspect of folk music, and the performances are suitably impassioned and rousing. Brave is a fine undaunted second album and should do The Salts’ cause the world of good.

John O’Regan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.