Album Review | Tyree Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson
After sixteen years on the road it seems only right to release a live album, especially now, and especially one that focuses on the cities, towns and villages in their own neck of the woods. Skerryvore is a band that was made for the road and their anthemic songs and vibrant Celtic pop benefits enormously from a live audience’s response, which is captured here in its hot and sweaty best, most notably through the opening pipes solo to “Slan and the Rise”. From the frantic acoustic guitar drone of “Trip to Modera” recorded in Edinburgh, through to the anthemic “Path to Home”, recorded at a show 93 miles north (as the crow flies), which delights the Aberdeen audience at the Tivoli Theatre, the album is packed with tight arrangements and explosive energy.
Fuelled by the twin pipes of Martin Gillespie and Scott Wood, the fiddle playing of Craig Espie and Alan Scobie’s rich keyboard work back in the shadows, the tight rhythm section of Fraser West and Jodie Bremaneson on drums and bass respectively and fronted by the voice of Alec Dalglish, Skerryvore’s highly charged music guarantees an experience that is both exciting and entertaining at the same time and is best served live. “At the End of the Line” demonstrates that it’s not all high energy and anthem, but tender and melodic in places. In addition to the music, what is genuinely lovely about this album is that the band dedicate the entire 12-page accompanying booklet to the venues at which they played, with a short paragraph for each, claiming that the parties were never so great than at the Sky Gathering Halls, that the pre-gig cocktails at the Nevis Centre were second to none and that their many wild nights at the Ironworks in Inverness will outlast the bricks and mortar as the future of the venue comes into question. Venues need this sort of boost at the moment, a nod to their combined efforts.
Choice Track: Can You Hear Us (NSV 506)