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BRODERICK "Cortanze Castle" Offspring Records OFFCD00108

One of the clichés of reviewing is to refer to "the difficult second album". Well, here we have the second release from young maestros Broderick to follow on from the acclaimed Kissing Fishes, and they don't seem to have had any difficulties at all.

Broderick mix together the talents of Luke Daniels, accordion, vocals and guitar; Colm Murphy, fiddle; Clare Garrard, fiddle and viola; Don Oeters, guitar and percussion; and Rick Foot, double bass. Add in a handful of guest musicians and the outcome is a well-balanced melange of tunes and songs, both traditional and modern, with sources from Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Galicia amongst others.

There is variety aplenty in pace as well, with fast reels, slow reels, polkas, slides - whatever the tempo, the consistent factors are quality of playing and a sharpness of perception in arrangements. With subtle counter-harmonies running in and out of the sets, there is both structure and depth to the arrangements. All of this allows individual expression to merge seamlessly with the group collective. Listen to the opening Four Points / Barge Inn / Christmas Eve jig and reel set to get an example of this which sets the scene for what is to follow. Full marks to Steafan Hannigan's recording abilities, as well, for the polished feel to the end product.

There are three songs on the CD as well - As I Roved Out; Stan Rogers' Field Behind the Plow; and Tonight in Fancy, a Spancil Hill type of reminiscence. In each of these, Luke Daniels' voice is very laid-back, almost to the point of being overpowered, but still giving a textured feel to the lyrics.

As I said, no difficulties here.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 50 of The Living Tradition magazine.