Mairearad and Anna – Farran

Album Review | Shouty Records | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Mairearad Green and Anna Massie, raised by Achnahaird Bay and The Moray Firth respectively have strong historic and current connections to the sea. This is evident in the nautical title of this, their predominantly instrumental fourth album, Farran being the Scots word for the Starboard side of the boat, the glorious maritime cover images by Illustrator Chelsea Free and last, but by no means least the jaunty rolling music the duo play. The boat on the cover is named for the one song on Farran, and the scene on the gatefold places us in the rolling waves, at sea, the scene is very much set. Between them Anna and Mairearad play guitar, fiddle, accordion, pipes and harmonise vocals well. Mairearad and Annie can deliver the driving energy of Coigach, an uptempo duet of guitar and pipes written by Maireaead’s piping teacher, the rising swell of Wee Mcghee’s, skittering Accordion and Anna’s percussive guitar. Self-penned “The Merton Set” features a more reflective gentle guitar twining with the Accordion, building to a faster intricate close. “Molly May” features the duo’s charming harmonised and solo vocals on JP Cormier’s bitter sweet reflection on a life at sea laid to waste. The two voices sweeten a melancholic tale and deliver an album highlight. Mairearad says that moving north and living by the sea, now that she is living in Ullapool, definitely slows you down. The change of pace, might have given time for reflection and time to discover local tunes, but hasn’t dulled the energy in the music of this duo. Reflective music with space and the grace of a coastal sunset like the “Brewery” set of tunes or the moody closer Mo Chailin, are placed alongside the more frantic traditional “Thadelo’s Slide/La Rachoudine.