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Shooglenifty "Solar Shears" VERTCD 053

It's a full four years since Shooglenifty released 'A Whisky Kiss' to an unsuspecting public, who wasted no time warming to their particular brand of 'acid ceilidh'. In doing so they became instant hits in just about every village hall across the land. Sadly this groundbreaking album suffered from a lack of mainstream radio airplay and television interest, as is often the case. Subsequently our beloved hero's are only household names in those homes frequented by their family, friends, and a loyal cult following.

In those four years essentially very little has changed. They've unquestionably become more experimental, Solar Shears is a quantum jump in production terms for the group. However it's still the elements of banjo/mandolin dueling with Angus Grant's fine fiddle technique which remain the real musical engine room, and is still one of the most refreshing aspects of their whole approach to recording. Thankfully they don't use gadgetry to hide behind a lack of playing ability. I'd like to think that if Frank Zappa had been born on say, Benbeccula, this might have been the music he would have chosen to produce.

Shooglenifty are one of the foremost groups in the 'cool Celt' genera, and I suspect will be so for some time to come now that they have the often difficult third album out of the way. Their musical journey is always that of discovery, as each album appears and I've had time to analyse the contents, my mind moves to where they may take us to next?

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.