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THE HOUSE DEVILS - Crossing The Ocean

THE HOUSE DEVILS - Crossing The Ocean
The Living Tradition  LTCD9019

This has been one of those occasions when I can truthfully say that a CD has been in permanent residence in the player for a clear 10 days since I had the honour of receiving it for review. This is the second recorded outing for this Anglicised Irish collective, and the intervening three years since Irish Folk – Adieu To Old Ireland have brought a change of label, and a new maturity and confidence I felt was previously conspicuously absent before.

Great choice of material –almost exclusively Irish Trad., self-arranged, with one superb original (There With You, by band member Mat Walklate). Walklate’s harmonica playing is astoundingly proficient throughout, and is perfectly at home in these settings. Matt Fahey who is the sole guitarist in the band, also plays a mean bouzouki. A brilliant advert for David Stubbs who hand crafted the guitar. The vocals are shared between Mat Walklate and Matt Fahey in approximately equal measure, and are strong throughout. Matt Fahey’s vocal take on My Bonny Boy Is Young (which most of us know as The Trees They Do Grow High) is a stand out track for me – easily up there with the Pentangle version. There are plenty of instrumentals for those of you that way inclined, and the real highlight is the final set of reels which close the album (The Blackberry Blossom/The Sailor’s Bonnet/The Crooked Road To Dublin). Gets my vote for album of the year so far (and there’s been a lot…)

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.