Published on June 27th, 2018 | by Mike Ainscoe0
Skerryvore: Evo – album review
Short for ‘evolution’ (which you know already of course) Skerryvore’s trademark fusion with a folky core continues.
Summer’s here (right in the middle of a spell some would call “scorchio” as we speak) and the time might be right for dancing in the streets but also priming up nicely for festival season. Plenty of folky ones on the horizon, so what better way to warm up, assuming that you’re not already sweltering, that with a bit of Skerryvore.
Recorded between East Lothian and Conneticut, the rock, folk, trad, Americana hybrid that the eight players concoct, each bringing their own distinct contribution, results in a collection that rises and falls; festival kicking tunes punctuated by more reflective moments usually the domain of the songs of Alec Dalglish. On ‘Evo’ he brings five new songs that ponder the touring life of the itinerant musician (“paradise is wherever your people are”) that sees country rock crossing swords with the swing and lilt of folk rock.
The more mainstream inclined ‘Take My Hand’ and ‘Hold On’ join forces with the Scots Tourism anthem, ‘Live Forever’, whose uplifting Celtic lines and rousing chorus is only missing the visual accompaniment of flying kilts and sweeping fields of heather.
A shift in mood comes in the form of the tune sets, with the party going on from the opening ‘The Exorcists’ – a blinding bit of adrenalin fuelled tuneage that’s sure to do what it says on the tine and rid the ether of any sort of malevolent spirits. Introduced by an ominous drone, the pipes are soon skirling and working up a storm. The ‘Mile High’ tune set channels a sprightly jazzier vibe, the sort that seems to be becoming all the more common with he instrumental folk outfits, before the pipes kick in again and shift the tune into overdrive – the sort of tune that’s going to have tents in fields bouncing.
The gentle air ’Soraidh Slan’ gives way to a rousing album closer, you can palpably sense what’s coming on ‘The Rise’ – shades of Pink Floyd in the echoing reverb of the guitar and reedy organ/keyboard that underlies the pace and drive before the drums add their sixpenn’orth. A stirring finale to a typical album from the Skerries whose tour de force instrumental prowess is married with a growing songwriting craft.
Watch the ‘Evo’ album preview: