Top Floor Taivers – A Delicate Game

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

We seem to be getting rather used to seeing young musicians in collaboration these days, whether that be as part of a ‘collective’, a themed commissioned project, or more commonly as part of a good old tried and tested band. In any such format, the strength of this collaborative prowess appears to awaken something special in these musicians time and time again. Top Floor Taivers is such an outfit, made up of two Scots, Claire Hastings and Heather Downie on ukulele and clarsach respectively, a Lancastrian pianist, Tina Jordan Rees and an Irish fiddler Gráinne Brady. Currently based in Glasgow, the quartet arrange their music to reflect the tradition, on such material as “Johnny o’ Braideslee” and “The False Bride”, as well as showcasing their own compositions, “Jeannie and the Spider”, written by Heather and her brother Alasdair and “Little Man”, written by Claire Hastings based on an old nursery rhyme. Added to this, the repertoire also includes one or two contemporary songs, such as Richard Thompson’s hugely popular leather-clad redhead/motorbike combination “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”, Findlay Napier’s beguiling “Princess Rosanna” and Leonard Cohen’s pessimistic “Everybody Knows”, each showcasing the band’s flair for arrangement. Contrary to their collective name, these musicians have hardly been idling away their time, recently being nominated in the Up and Coming Artist category at the 2016 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. The Taivers are already a good three years into their stride and A Delicate Game may just prove to be a fine debut for them.