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KILA - Alive

KILA - Alive
Kila Records KRCD016

For anyone who was spellbound by their previous CD, Suas Sios, and its accompanying videos, this is an invaluable primer in the work of a band prominent in Ireland, but less well-known elsewhere in the British Isles. It is hard to draw any meaningful comparisons with anybody else. The basic formula of Irish folk-rock might provide some points to navigate by, but nobody I've heard has the Gaelic rapping down to such a fine art. It is adventurous music, with plenty of virtuoso playing from the O'Snodaigh family and their connections, typified by their long-standing live crowd pleaser, An Tiomanai, and one of their best songs, Raise The Road.

They could settle into a groove and do this forever, always finding an audience, but Kila has the restlessness that separates the best from the rest. Their risk-taking is not confined to the collaboration with the Polish singer, Kayah, on a track called Am Reel. It also leads to a freshness which can be attributed to the way that three of the pieces were getting only their second or third playing when they were recorded for this set. Not a band to stand still, then. As someone who has played Suas Sios to death, however, the inclusion of Skinheads feels like meeting old pals.

Kila are a band of rare character, one for whom the tag ‘folk-rock’ sounds simultaneously too vague and too restrictive.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.