Review Archive

‘Blackhouse’ from Peatbog Faeries - music that force-feeds tradition a dose of invention

(May 12, 2015)

‘Blackhouse’, the seventh studio album from Peatbog Faeries, is eclectic with a capital ‘E’. There are influences galore coursing through and around this music – a base of predominantly Scottish tradition overlaid with inspirations from everywhere. Jazz, funk, reggae and dance rub shoulders with special effects and synths, tradition combines with visions, contemporary rocks along with heritage. The result is a fusion the blackhouse album cover the peatbog faeriesband has unequivocally made its own. A sound that’s distinctive and individual. Music that force-feeds tradition with a sizeable dose of invention.

Fusion of any sort can become a bastard child that runs away with its creator. Not so here. The expertise and skill is evident, as is the interaction between the band members. Together they discipline the blend into their unique approach. The powerhouse rhythm section of Stu Haikney on drums and percussion and Innes Hutton on bass, coupled with the dexterity of Peter Morrison on pipes and whistles, Ross Couper’s fiddle and effects, with Tom Slater on guitar and ebow and Graeme Stafford on keyboards make ‘Blackhouse’ their best yet, no doubt about it.

Ripping in on a wave of synthesised energy ‘Is This Your Son?’ soars into a tsunami of sound, following close on its heels the faintly ominous opening to ‘Jakes on a Plane’ morphs into a slowly languid dreamlike sequence, before the pipes and fiddle hold sway with ‘Tom in the Front’. Love the musical essence of Scotland and the Islands interspersed with explosions of vivid interpretation and ‘Blackhouse’ is an album for you. The development of the amalgam continues through the initial laid back funk of ‘The Real North’ and then moves into more explorations with the pulsing drive and presence of ‘Spiders’ and another excursion into the spookier side of expression with ‘The Dragon’s Apprentice’.

At times inspiring, sometimes mysterious and at others disconcerting this is visceral music that digs itself deep under your skin. Find Peatbog Faeries and‘Blackhouse’ here:

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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