Sunday, July 22, 2007

Review - ENTER The HAGGIS -- Live In Northampton

Enter The Haggis
Oh Wow! Can these guys play Celtic music.
I suppose with a name like Enter The Haggis they'd better be able to play the music of tin whistle, bagpipes and fiddles, but these guys do it damn well.
This is a live album, and I can tell you from the outset you'll wish you had been part of the audience.
The band hits the stage running with One Last Drink and No More Stones, both great original songs, then shift gears with a set of traditional Canadian fiddle music, that lets you know these guys have roots in the traditions of Celtic music.
On Another Round though Enter The Haggis shows some of the band's real strength, the willingness to expand the boundaries of the tradition of Celtic music. There are segments here that have a sort of Middle Eastern flare, mixed smoothly into a still clearly Celtic number, although this one has something of a new country feel too. Yes they throw a few styles into the blender and hit frappes.
Then we hit Cynical. Local music fans will by now be familiar with Volcanoless In Canada, and quite frankly this song would fit in one of their sets quite easily. It would even fit with Mitch Lysak's vocal style.
Of course true Celtic music often has a political message too, especially some of the older traditional ballads. Enter The Haggis doesn't shy away from that side of the genre either, with Marti's Last Stand clearly a statement on the stupidity of war. One of the songs here with the truest Celtic style of old, it's a great song, with some sweet tin whistle work to boot.
That's only the first six songs on the 12-song CD, and as you might already notice, I'm pretty high on this CD, well that and the fact I rated it a 9.5, which is the stratosphere in terms of scores for me. Well you're right. These guys really never miss a beat throughout.
They have a fine understanding of Celtic traditions, but are also wise enough to modernize the sound for the current era. This is the kind of CD that will make the most traditional Celtic listener push their boundaries, but will also open the genre to a new and younger generation. Lancaster Gate starts off as very traditional, then suddenly switches to a more pop sound, and it does so flawlessly.
Based in Toronto we aren't likely to see these guys locally, but you sure won't go wrong picking up this CD. Check them out at /

-- - Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 18, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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