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SKIPINNISH - The Seventh Wave

SKIPINNISH - The Seventh Wave
Private Label SKIPCD26

Skipinnish was originally formed as a band to highlight Highland West Coast music and within their seven albums to date lies the sound of a group developing their own character. Their new album, The Seventh Wave, sees them realising their promise and setting their course as a powerfully vital band.

The pieces are in place with a musical template echoing bands like Runrig, Skerryvore, Wolfstone and the Tannahill Weavers. This recipe makes for an inspiring show, rife with excitement, colour and musical nous - whether swaggering through propulsive tunes, chorus-laden chest beaters that glow with human optimism or romantic certainty, or solemn requiems for departed places and people. Norrie MacIver’s lead vocals are suitably raw and impassioned in the Donnie Munro/Andy M Stewart school of ragged vein, yet they display a melodic clarity that renders their sincerity intact. There are plenty of well-crafted song efforts on display in the up-tempo Alive, Ocean Of The Free and Walking On The Waves, which possess compulsive choruses with melodic tunes that evoke their locality and provide ideal concert hall material. The slower ballads such as The Iolaire and the closing air, Crò Chinn T-Sàle, add a haunting tenderness and emotional connection with their winsome female vocals and full choral effects - the latter recalling Gaelic Church singing. These moments provide balance and proportion to the tightly-drilled tune sets like The Hag, The Old Woman and MacNab’s Set, where two (and often three) bagpipers high-step through galvanising rhythms and multitudinous tempo changes.

An impassioned take on Runrig’s Alba pays due homage to the Gaelic rock gods, but what The Seventh Wave convincingly proves is that Skipinnish is very much its own band and its collective energy, melodic sense and drive make the band uniquely current and identifiable. This is a group ripe for major acceptance and notice at the top of their game - listen to them.

John O’Regan

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