Assynt – Road to the North

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Assynt, are a new Scottish trio, playing self-penned tunes influenced by the Highland and Gaelic Traditions. The band comprises David Sheddan Pipes and Whistles, Graham Mackenzie, Fiddle and Innes White Guitar and Mandolin. On this, their first album they are joined by BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Musician Of The Year, Charlie Stewart on Double Bass and Drummer Scott Mackay. Playing from the start is breath taking, fast and fleet fingered. The pace and power of the musicians is a thing of wonder. There are moments of slow reflection like the guitar, fiddle and whistle on “Foward Thinking”, or the circling on “Ava May”. Elsewhere the slow, atmospheric starts to Conal MacDonagh and Aidan Jack heralds some precise, breakneck playing. Both are equally impressive, the brooding atmospheres or the moments of musical downhill skiing where the landscape flies by at an impossible speed as we cut between trees and rocks. One has more power because of the other. Assynt are named after an area of West Coast Scotland, north of Ullapool. Assynt, Road to the North, sounds like a road sign, a signpost indicating the start of a long and interesting journey through a beautiful and exciting landscape. Notification of a band connected to a place and a tradition, declaring their intention to take us somewhere worth visiting.