a’Nish – Way of the Gull

Album Review | Purt Sheearan Records | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

a’Nish – not to be confused with the Indian singer nor the Bombay-born British sculptor – is the name of a superb Brit five-piece who combine Irish, Scottish, Manx and Scandinavian folk traditions to create a wonderfully infectious sound. Their latest album, Way of the Gull, is a follow up to their 2011 release Nish as Rish (also the band’s former name) and, once again, showcases this nifty group’s wide range of talents. They’ve certainly come a long way since meeting at York University all those years ago. Renowned vocalist Ruth Keggin is joined by strummers Dave Pearce and Karl Kramer as well as fiddler Anna Goldbeck-Wood and bassist Vanessa Hutchinson for an album of mostly nimble instrumentals with a few gorgeous songs thrown in such as “The Seagulls of Kristiansund” and the life-affirming Annabelle’s. Amongst the instrumentals there are moments of magic that hark back to early Planxty albums, such as the stunning “Out of the Orient”, with its invigorating mandolin lead, as well as the haunting “Raad Ny Foillan”, which incorporates piano and whistle to lend this constantly engaging album an expansive and evocative texture.