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Malinky unseen hours

MALINKY the unseen hours
Greentrax CDTRAX276

So. you thought Malinky would disintegrate when Karine Polwart left and that they'd all fall out? So did I. Happily, we're all wrong. Malinky and Karine have stayed friends, Leo McCann has also left and the band has shrunk to a three-piece, re-grouped and expanded up to a five-piece. Confused?

New members Fiona Hunter and Ewan MacPherson add breadth and depth to Malinky's vocal artillery and Ewan brings in an Irish influence . in his own singing style at least. On 'unseen hours, the tone is darker and the material more traditional in origin, than on the first two Malinky CDs, but the band is still very recognisable. Fiona's singing is no way that of a Polwart-clone, but there isn't a huge discontinuity. The tunes - which as usual are around half of the album - are still brisk, varied and as tight as the proverbial canard's derriere. What has changed is that vocals are shared around more, now that Malinky has such an army of strong voices. This has been commented on negatively by one reviewer, who felt that it led to a lack of coherence. I disagree and I hope that Malinky will keep this up - it's almost like getting several bands for the price of one and opens up the scope of what the band can tackle considerably. The distinctiveness of the instrumental sound glues it all together tightly.

On this CD, you'll find new versions of some well-know songs such as Clerk Saunders, King Orfeo and Bonnie Banks O Fordie . and even a signing out with the old chestnut My Ain Countrie - very splendid. It's nice to hear this generation tackle some of the more hackneyed songs (Malinky also had a pop at Hills of Ardmorn on their debut CD). The reason these songs became hackneyed was that they were a b?**dy good sing . and they still are. Congrats. to Malinky for surviving what many of us thought would be a death-blow and emerging unbloodied, unbowed, very exciting and very recognisable.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 66 of The Living Tradition magazine.