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BROLUM - The Fair Face I Never Saw
Own Label BROLUM02

Many young bands have the idea that the best way to make an impression on their audience is to go for an all-out, full-frontal audio attack, very much in your face and aggressive. Then there's Brolum's approach, on this, their second album, which is to layer the music gently and subtly, allowing the interplay of the instrumentation to build up to a cohesive head without losing sight of the component parts. This allows a sparkling vitality to develop throughout this admirable assembly of tunes and songs, both in Scots and Gaelic.

Brolum comprise Eilidh Campbell, fiddle and backing vocals; Kathleen Graham, vocals and clarsach; Ali Hutton, whistles, pipes and bouzouki; Duncan Lyall, double bass and backing vocals; Martin O'Neill, bodhran, percussion and piano; Andy Webster, vocals, guitars and bouzouki; and Sarah Wilson, fiddle and backing vocals.

For such a large number, the effect is startlingly clear, with everyone being allowed to complement the rest, as the music becomes increasingly multi-layered. There has obviously been a lot of thought put into the arrangements, which are first-class throughout, as is the overall production. As well as musicality of a high standard, we have fine singing, with a particularly intriguing plot developing in " Lovers' Tiff"!

This whole release has a completeness about it, which is immensely satisfying, making it one of this year's favourites.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 61 of The Living Tradition magazine.