Listening to the first song on this CD, the title cut, it all of a sudden hit me that Celtic is occidental Carnatic music (India, after all, is in the orient). Don't know why it's taken me so long to cognize that, but it's indeed so. The track is a highly pleasing aggregate of three original sonorities woven together to form a six minute exercise in interlocking lines adopting ancient airs for modern ears, Windham Hill-ish in its integrities and level of musicianship. Molly's Revenge is a northern California quartet (David Brewer, John Weed, Pete Haworth, Stuart Mason)concentrating on stringed instruments and pipes (and whistles, of course) while re-imbuing time-honored traditions in a way the rebellious Irish, or anyone else, will have absolutely no problems with whatsoever.
For this, their seventh, release, they brought in vocalist-accordionist Moira Smiley to sit in on most of the CD. She has a Sandy Denny-ish voice—a bit gentler, a little more gossamer to it. Her first appearance is on the gorgeous Weave my Love a Garland, and the band certainly knows how to fabricate a robe of shimmering colors around her. The Long Drive, the third selection, returns to the instrumental side, again a flawlessly threaded trio of old and original ditties, once more captivating for its ability to capture and dance with serial, rondo, and "Carnatic" Celtic elements into the 21st century enchantingly.
The Western Shore brings in Solas' (reviewed here) John Doyle for production work, and he puts a glow into the entire affair, overseeing a disc that will have William Ackerman beaming. The ensemble possesses an especially lyrical hand with ballads, and a number of them dot the CD, counterpointing the rest of the dexterous high-energy cuts. Where Clannad left me indifferent, Molly's Revenge conjures up wistful dreams and old country joys…and I'm not the only one: the lads' fan base helped raise $8,000 to secure the release of this marvelous record, thus joining groups like Marillion who have enlisted ecstatically fanatic listeners in a partnership, something that may yet prove to be the salvation of the otherwise moribund music industry.
That impending apotheosis, however, has nothing to do with the magic of this release, which stands well on its own manifold virtues, needing little in the way of business paradigms to argue its more than obvious attractions.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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