Sketch – Highland Time – Skye Records (61 mins) ✭✭✭
Fiery fiddles-and-pipes act
Opener ‘After the Storm’ shows where we’re heading: a crisp rhythm track overlaid with pipes and fiddle and a deranged heavy-metal violin solo. Skye-based Sketch are taking tradition to the dance floor. Cue heavy sighs —we’ve been here before. But hold on, the assembled talent is ear-catching, and while ‘Bam the Tanjo’ features Nile Rodgers-style guitar licks and ‘Press Eject’ opens with a John Bonhamesque drum riff, the real joy lies in Ali Levack’s pipes and Neil Ewart’s fiddle and compositions. Ewart’s ‘Squirrels’ is a jig inspired by island pest control. In `Homeward Bound’, Darren Maclean’s mouth music generates the rhythm as though down a phone line, and ‘Failte Dhruim Fionn’ features Maeve Mackinnon, needlessly autotuned for effect. ‘Taxi for Copeland’ brings a welcome pace change, allowing a lyrical Ewart melody to soar, while ‘C Side’ is an affectionate frame for the deliciously fluid whistle playing of the late Fraser Shaw. Then ‘Goan Yersel’ showcases Angus Binnie’s piping in an epic ten-minute track. It may be at times reminiscent of those Switched On Classics albums from the 90s, but at its best it’s a great selection of tunes, old and new, in clubbable clothing.
TRACK TO TRY Encore