?I sing about dead people? all the time?. This is the tag line at the head of Rebsie Fairholm?s myspace page and one which raises a smile from me straight away. Her album places a fine voice in a diverse range of settings, with varying degrees of success.
Her opening song, ?Round Window? had me thinking of All About Eve?s Julianne Reagan even before I saw her listed amidst Ms Fairholm?s list of influences. This song has lovely layered vocals against a sparse, piano led, arrangement. ?The Unquiet Grave? is the first of the folk songs here and the beatbox rhythm track sits well with her voice, but those who baulk at electronics pretending to be wind instruments will bristle at the keyboard oboe sound? I did!
With her fondness for death songs, it?s no small wonder that Rebsie has taken up ?MacCrimmon?s Lament?, written by Donald B?n MacCrimmon upon a prediction that he would die ? which indeed he did, within a matter of days. Her performance of this, in Gaelic, is heartfelt and highly atmospheric, however the Gaelic theme continues with the jaunty ?Buain A?Choirce? and I?m less comfortable with that. Perhaps it?s because I come from a part of the world (Scotland) where people updating Gaelic songs over beatbox backings to ?discover their Celtic roots? abound in all too profuse numbers, but when I heard this, Mind the Gap was, I?m sorry to say, marked down by a good couple of points.
However, what it lost it soon regained with the likes of the amusing original ?Leafblower?, a cover of Lal Waterson?s ?Fine Horseman? and a welcome dip into Pink Floyd?s immediate post-Syd catalogue for the oft-overlooked gem ?Julia Dream?.
The album closes with ?She Moves Through The Fair?, the electronic drone based accompaniment sitting quite far back to allow an estimable vocal lead to shine.
With reservations in mind, there?s still a lot to recommend about ?Mind The Gap.? 6/10 -- John Cavanagh (25 June, 2008)