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THE EAST POINTERS - What We Leave Behind

THE EAST POINTERS - What We Leave Behind
Private Label EPCD17

A second album from this trio out of Prince Edward Island sees them on a more mainstream heading: more songs, more modern vibe, and a lot more post-production polish. Collaborations with Liz Stringer, Gordie Sampson, Chris Kirby and Patrick Ballantyne have resulted in four of the five songs here - only the final Hid In Your Heart comes straight from Jake Charron, Koady and Tim Chaisson. All the instrumentals are still credited to these three, and the core sound is certainly Tim's fiddle, Koady's tenor banjo, and Jake's deft work on guitar and keys. Tim is the lead vocalist, with his buddies providing backing on songs from the folk-rock 82 Fires to the almost-disco Two Weeks: if you've never thought of the banjo as a disco accessory, think again!

There are parallels here with Moxie, Mànran, Bongshang, Runrig and Canadian pioneers such as Ashley MacIsaac or JP Cormier, but The East Pointers have something distinctive too. Perhaps it's the Acadian influence, perhaps it's the tight pairing of fiddle and banjo, or perhaps we should just blame it on the boogie. That disco dance groove crops up again in the ballad, John Wallace, and even in some of the instrumentals. Party Wave certainly lives up to its name, with a thumping beat and toe-tapping triplets, while the pair of jigs, Pour Over, has enough lift to float you clean over the Northumberland Strait. The slower title track is a spooky air, almost transcendental. No Bridge Too Far brings us right back to ceilidh culture, a medley of reel and polka rhythms to wake the dead, or at least disturb their sleep. Lots to enjoy here, all of it new but redolent of that pot pourri of cultures which co-exist on Prince Edward Island. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.