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A Whisky Kiss

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Album Review

Those who are annoyed by banal lyrics that drag down an otherwise good melody, take note: Scotland's Shooglenifty have the answer. No, they are not poet extaordinaires able to reduce Robert Burns to a mere literary footnote; nor do they camouflage any expressive deficiencies by singing in Gaelic. They've simply chosen to do without. Now there's nothing particularly unusual about an instrumental Celtic group. Much like the venerable instrumental rockers Dixie Dregs, who were firmly rooted in various American music forms (bluegrass, jazz, country, etc.), Shooglenifty's uniqueness also lies in the fact that, as a rock band, they've chosen to utilize their indigenous musical upbringing in a modern application. They do not limit themselves either. "She's in the Attic" begins with a strolling surf guitar tease and abruptly breaks into a lively fiddle tune courtesy of Angus Grant with subtle eastern undertones creeping in and out. In deference to John Hartford, how many groove-heavy banjo songs have you heard lately? Picker Garry Finlayson's "Song for Susie" is exactly that. He and Iain MacLeod comprise Shooglenifty's uncommon duo-banjo attack. Although an unlikely club hit, the title track fulfills many requirements of that distant genre; there is an unrelenting and pulsating rhythm, as well as a catchy and repetitive melody, but thankfully lacking are the mindless utterances that some unashamedly call lyrics. A Whiskey Kiss will probably appeal less to folk purists than to those who welcome a little spice and variety injected into their rock & roll.


Formed: Edinburgh, Scotland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The musical traditions of Scotland have been combined with modern influences of rock, pop, jazz, and urban dance music to create the hypno-folkadelic/ambient/traditional sound of Shooglenifty. According to the Ottawa Sun, the Edinburgh-based sextet is "setting the world on fire with their super trippy blend of Celtic staples and everything from acid jazz to Latin shuffles." An offshoot of psych-bluegrass quintet Swamptrash, Shooglenifty initially came together at informal sessions at the Edinburgh...
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A Whisky Kiss, Shooglenifty
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