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Short and sweet - very sweet in fact. This release has been trailed on YouTube and social media for quite a while, and does not disappoint, except perhaps in its modest duration (27 minutes). Pound is a master of the harmonica, playing everything from Morris to Monk. Jay plays piano box in an eclectic manner - Playford, Piaf, Prokofiev and plenty more - and adds more accompaniment here than you would have thought possible, in addition to taking the melody line in his turn. Ignite contains Irish, English, Canadian, Scottish, Swedish, American and Balkan material, surprisingly little of it what you'd think of as traditional, plus three pieces by Jay and Pound - but if this is the direction the English tradition is taking, you won't hear any complaints from me!

The cover puts me in mind of illustrations for Puff The Magic Dragon, and that seems quite appropriate. There's fire here aplenty, but much of this music is at heart quite simple - just remarkably well played and cleverly arranged. Floating Candle, for example, is something you could teach to a beginners’ whistle class, although it wouldn't sound quite like this version. Pound throws variations and virtuosity at a simple tune by Kieran Hanrahan, and Jay vamps away until it's more like a masterclass on Orange Blossom Special. Will and Eddy's bash at Barbarini's Tambourine combines the percussive playing of Morris musicians with the grace of an eighteenth-century dance - if that's possible. The duo cut loose on The Crooked Reel from Quebec and The Clinch Mountain Backstep from Virginia, a popular bluegrass session tune which could almost have been a major motion picture if those people from Brokeback hadn't got there first.

Richard III is a cheery little swing number somehow inspired by a skeleton in Leicester, and Hangman brings out the blues in the old tin sandwich: both were written by Pound and Jay. Will's piece, The Reckoning, is pure folk harmonica with Eddy's trademark in-out accompaniment underpinning the harp's musical acrobatics. Andy Cutting's Flatworld is another surprisingly simple piece, a delightful waltz in the mode of Lusignac and other Anglo-French compositions. Up to this point I could have just recycled the excellent press release for this album, but I drew the line at attributing Barrowburn Reel to classical-pop crossover artist Adele Harper from Wick. Addie's great box'n'fiddle tune is followed by the well known Eklundspolska Number 3, and the whole thing is topped off with a couple of bravura Bulgarian dances in 7/8. It should be easy to find samples of Ignite online, but trust me - you'll like it. Pound and Jay will also be touring this summer. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 114 of The Living Tradition magazine.