United Bible Studies are the best band in Ireland, hands down. They're hard to pin down as they keep changing things up and trying different approaches to their improvised glory. Always organic and always magical, UBS is an entity unto itself. Over the course of their various releases, they've taken us through the tree-lined paths of Ireland's folklore and explored the depths of the seas which surround their homeland. Their musical offerings are taken straight from the earth.
On their latest opus, "Airs of Sun and Stone," the group gives us one epic piece recorded live in Limerick in May 2005. I'm not sure how many people played on this or what the exact line-up was, but the piece heavily features the magnificent interplay of harp and piano. There are other instruments (guitars, percussion, etc - and even some excellent bouts of throatsinging), but it is the harp and piano that make this recording as great as it is.
Over the course of 40 minutes, UBS explore the primeval forests before shooting toward the heavens. This appropriately titled album is stunning in its depth and its breadth. Opening with a simple greeting, "Good morning, we're United Bible Studies... thank you all for coming, so early" is a minor thing, but makes me imagine sundrenched orchards with champaigne and flowering trees in the early spring. This music is warm and crisp, never missing a beat and always searching for the next perfect note.
United Bible Studies should be a name that is commonplace for most people. If they're not, "Airs of Sun and Stone" is a perfect place to start. Pure magic. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (27 June, 2006)