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Croft No Five  - “Attention All Personnel” - CDFSR1709

I first saw this group live about eighteen months ago on the ‘open stage’ at Celtic Connections 2000.  So good was the performance that evening I instantly made a mental note to look out for them in the future.  Much has changed in the time between that show and the release of this debut CD.  Although they acquitted themselves well in concert, I still felt they needed to gain some experience.  “Attention All Personnel” is proof that Croft No Five have learned very quickly.

Peppered throughout the album are urgent funky grooves, somewhat reminiscent of the more upbeat tunes by Shooglenifty and the Tartan Amoebas, making this debut album a very enjoyable listen.  Whilst the group are clearly influenced by their peers, they have developed a sound unique to themselves with tracks such as the barnstorming ‘Knightmare’ weighing in at a hefty eight minutes plus.  At the heart of the group is John Somerville’s bubbling accordion, on every track his playing is a joy and his performance on this CD will surely continue to make a name for himself.

By carefully choosing good material Croft No Five have for the most part covered up what is the most disappointing aspect of this CD.  Technically their playing is excellent however the quality of this recording allows them no real favours.  Generally the sound is rather thin and a little flat.  Coupled with a mix lacking in the quality and polish a young accomplished band like this deserves.  This may be a very good debut but I think there’s still a lot more left to come from this promising group.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.