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ERISKA - At The Wrong Gig  

ERISKA - At The Wrong Gig  
Private Label  

This Glasgow-based sextet has only been together for two years, but their debut album is seriously impressive. Majoring in pipes, fiddle and accordion, Eriska's instrumental prowess is clear from the opening Duncan Johnstone jig, Ray Anderson. Their material is a mix of traditional and contemporary compositions, plus a lot of their own tunes, all close to mainstream Scottish folk with a few outside influences and bags of rock rhythms. Fiddle Bee by Madeleine Stewart, the band's most prolific composer, sees Dario Palazzo soloing on electric guitar while drummer Gavin Paterson switches from ceilidh mode to cool funk. Madeleine is back again with Cricket Tune, a syncopated jig in the style of The Road To Banff, adding Jerry Holland's Mom's Jig and Brendan Ring's Lisnagun Jig to make an irresistible dance set.

Guitar, drums, and bass courtesy of Julian Pombo, keep things rocking along throughout At The Wrong Gig. Sam Mabbett's D Sox is dominated by the rhythm section, while the traditional Cutty Wedding is more balanced between beat and melody. When Scott Figgins switches from whistles to pipes, the tune takes over: the final track is a piping feast, pieces by Fred Morrison and Findlay MacDonald as well as Scott himself. There is a more relaxed middle section to this CD, box-player Aileen Sweeney's lovely air, Sparrow, followed by Stewart's luscious Ole Spider Plate, but the band quickly get funky again for the swing-time Two More Weeks and the jazzy strathspey, Friday Afternoon. The gentle Discharge by Pombo brings us to the big finish, a fitting climax to a very fine CD. I'll be looking out for Eriska appearing live, and I recommend you check out their various social media pages as well as their website for a flavour of their music. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.