The impetus behind this release – to present songs in the Gaelic and Scots languages (in addition to English) – is to say the least very interesting, and the quality of the music here is very high. The feelings elicited by the sounds here are nostalgic, conveying a sense of ancientness, and might also be described as celebratory and inspiring. The music creates a mental landscape that is dark, overcast and autumnal. Pieces such as “E Ho Leigein” are genuinely beautiful.
In terms of technical quality of instrumentation, the musicians on the album are all highly talented, and the signature busy and polyrhthmic drumming of Alex Neilson accompanies many of the songs. The collaboration between Mairi Morrison and Alasdair Roberts apparently came about through an (initially one-off) concert (with violinist Alastair Caplin) for a club in Glasgow that celebrates the Gaelic music and literature; Morrison and Roberts also conducted research on Gaelic and Scots in order to write much of the music here, and the album benefits from the intelligence with which they’ve organized this project.
This is not to say that the album is without flaws: its production does feel a bit too dry for most of the album, and the music doesn’t really feel as transcendent as the possibilities here would suggest. But many musicians could learn from the efforts that make this project successful as a piece of art.