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TALISK - Beyond  

TALISK - Beyond  
Private Label TALISK02CD  

If you haven't heard of Talisk, you must have been living under a rock for the past two years. Since their 2016 debut album, Abyss, this trio has won pretty much every award going, singly and together. I'm not saying they're good - I'm saying they're better than good. Many things on Beyond are different from Talisk's previous release. Same front line of Hayley Keenan on fiddle and Mohsen Amini's transcendent concertina, but Graeme Armstrong has replaced Craig Irving on guitar. Same number of tracks, and indeed the same album duration, but this time all the material is written by the band, with one exception. Same lack of sleeve notes, which means I can't tell you much more, except what I think of this music: if you want facts, try the Talisk website.

Musically, Beyond is exactly that - a step further into Talisk's own world, and a more thoughtful collection that their brashly brilliant debut. Concertina and fiddle share the limelight, with sparse use of guests, and the guitar underpins everything perfectly. Mohsen's Montreal opens proceedings with a rush of riffs on a reel in the Quebec brandy style. Crooked Water Valley comes mainly from Hayley's pen, two splendid jigs set at various tempos with those rhythmic twists which are a Talisk trademark. Serbian Dreams ticks the 7/8 box nicely, a sleepy Slavic stroll, and Cabot Trail continues the slow rambling mood with a contemporary arrangement of Keenan's melody. Farewell marks the midpoint, oddly enough, a party number with quick-fire concertina and a cast of thousands. Graeme's moving air Liddesdale slows the pace before two belting final numbers: Rations, with added viola from Greg Lawson, and the toe-tapping title track which throws the traditional reel Munster Buttermilk between the wheels of Mohsen Amini's explosive compositions. Inspired music, flawless playing, and a spirit all of their own - Talisk continue to set the standard. 

Alex Monaghan

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