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Peatbog Records CDBOG008

This may not be what you expected from a band with pipes, whistles, guitars, fiddles, keyboards, percussion, and even kilts, no less. Still, like the faeries of their namesake, the music will pull you in with the swirling trance-like layers of overlapping sound. You will be enchanted. The Peatbog Faeries have built their career on brilliant instrumental prowess, displayed on an electro-dance palette. If you cannot abide the latter, it is possible that you may not share my enthusiasm. But 25 years in, the Peatbog Faeries have proven their attraction. And in so doing, they’ve made the world safe for all manner of other explorations in Scottish music.

This release was recorded in fall 2016, and the band is in fine form on their silver anniversary tour. Being captured live is eminently reasonable, given that the band has been recognised, time and again, for their live shows. This is largely taken from one concert at a barn in Herefordshire. It is hard to find standouts, but I went back over and over to the fiddles and whistles trading off against the relentless bass in Marx Terrace or the sinewy trails of Spider’s or the bouncing riffs of the wryly-named Folk Police. There is an unflinching intensity to the tracks, though there are some more reflective pieces like the evocative Fishing at Orbost.

This release highlights a band that makes music categories irrelevant. But they do so by honouring and celebrating their own traditions.

Ivan Emke

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.