Treacherous Orchestra “Origins”
Navigator Records, 2012
You could fill this review by simply listing the line-up of this 11-piece trad big band, so take your time now … No, I make it short and simple: from the land that brought us Martyn Bennett, Croft No. Five, Peatbog Faeries, Salsa Celtica and Shooglenifty comes another trad fusion outfit. Featuring highly talented Scottish (and Irish) artists, almost everyone still in their twenties: fiddlers Adam Sutherland and Innes Watson, pipers Ali Hutton and Ross Ainslie, flutist Kevin O’Neill, accordionist John Somerville, banjo player Éamonn Coyne, guitarist Barry Reid, bass player Duncan Lyall, bodhrán player Martin O’Neill and drummer Fraser Stone. Besides the traditional tune “Sheepskins Beeswax” (though I never heard of it) and Irish piper Brendan Ring’s “Maverick Angels” all music has been composed by Adam, Ross, Kevin, Innes and John (with Adam’s “Garry Porch of Avernish” already recorded by Dàimh fiddler Gabe McVarish). The album starts somewhat solemn, from track #3 the pace quickens. The Treacherous Orchestra can rock with power, but also deliver sophisticated arrangements. They can play catchy melodies on bagpipes and whistles and also stomp along with simple, straight-forward riffs. It’s almost epic, and indeed orchestral, with tracks taking up to 15 minutes. Is it my impression that the entire album is built up just like a symphony with an overture and several extensive movements. But mind you, this is not a studio project, the Orchestra was founded at the Celtic Connections festival 2009, and I have seen them myself at last year’s Rudolstadt festival.
The Treacherous Orchestra is destined for even greater things – if they are capable to hold the line-up together.
© Walkin’ T:-)M