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TORRIDON - Break The Chains 

TORRIDON - Break The Chains 
Private Label DRCD004 

Making a joyful noise in spite of it all is an idea that runs through this uplifting, thoughtful album by Highland folk-rockers Torridon. Several of the songs have a mental health theme, and the video for the first track, Lighthouse, available on the band’s website, is highly recommended for its depiction and resolution of feelings of isolation. (It might be noted that the album’s focus is primarily male mental wellbeing.)

A couple of songs on a drinking theme (Here We Go Again, Drinking Away) have a neatly-ambivalent attitude to the benefits or otherwise of drinking alcohol, so these are not simplistic preachy songs, but taken as a whole they make the ‘look after yourself’ point well enough. A more straightforward song, Highland Girl, has just the sort of arm-waving euphoria you expect it to have, and must be brilliant live.

The band is at the rock/pop end of the folk-rock spectrum, with the folk element being most prominent on the three instrumental tracks. Torridon themselves encourage comparison with Runrig and The Saw Doctors; I heard traces of Deacon Blue and even Big Country, which counts as high praise in the pop context, although I’m not sure the writing here is quite of that quality. Nevertheless, the album is a real statement of intent and this material will raise many a smile – especially, perhaps, in live performance.

Paul Mansfield


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine