Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Peatbog Records  CDBOG006

Smooth, sophisticated, thoughtful: these aren't words I would previously have associated with the hairy highland heidbangers we know and love as The Peatbog Faeries, but Dust is different. In some ways it marks a return to their Mellowosity days, with electronic backtracks underlying relatively traditional themes repeated hypnotically. However, the PBF of today is much slicker and studio-savvy than the fresh-faced fellas on that first album. That's not to say they've lost their freshness and spark: their music may now be dressed in linen and cashmere rather than homespun wool, but the pattern is still tartan and tweed, and the colours still hit you between the eyes like a musket ball.
Jacobite and shortbread-tin metaphors aren't really appropriate any more: this is modern music, written for and played by a generation who think MacDonalds is a restaurant and Campbells is a brand of soup. (They're right about one of those.) That doesn't stop Dust being great traditional music - the core of this CD is still Scottish pipes and fiddle, it just adds layers of modern enhancement. Take Dun Brae, for instance. Named after a broch on Skye, an ancient pre-celtic tower associated with faerie folk, this Peter Morrison composition covers all the Peatbog bases. It starts with a funky guitar intro, then some slow fiddle and banjo, before the whistle and fiddle play a catchy minor jig. Drums join, then electronic effects. The pipes take up the melody, with pipe band style percussion, then a host of synthesized sounds mimic seagulls, weather, radio, whales and other maritime phenomena, Drop back to electric guitar and congas, a South Pacific soundscape, then gentle fiddle reminiscent of Fingal's Cave, then all stop. From Skye to sea to soul and back again, and that's just one track.

There are gentle tracks like Spigel And Nongo or Passport Panic, feistier tracks like Abhainn a'Nathair or The Naughty Step, extra weirdness on Marx Terrace, and the simple beauty of Fishing At Orbost. The Faeries finish up with some Caribbean craziness in Room 215, including Irish pipes from Jarlath Henderson. Nothing too extreme, all in the best possible taste (maybe), and a cracking good hour of new Scottish music altogether. has the low-down and the downloads.

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.