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Almost an Island

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Album Review

There was some speculation after Seven that Wolfstone has ceased to be an active entity. That rumor was squelched in a big way when, in 2001 and 2002, they released Live! Not Enough Shouting and Almost an Island respectively. The latter was their first studio album in three years and it reunited them with producer Phil Cunningham, who last produced their Year of the Dog album (1994). Just as "Holy Ground" established the tenor for that album and, likewise, "Zeto" for The Half Tail(1996), Almost an Island is ushered in with a similarly bagpipes-heavy rocker "The Piper and the Shrew." This was Wolfstone's way of saying "We're ba-ack." With the dependable core of Duncan Chisholm, Wayne MacKenzi, Stevie Saint, and Stuart Eaglesham, Wolfstone's patented style of high-powered Celtic rock remains in tact but one wonders if the departure of Ivan Drever after This Strange Place also meant that much of the traditional component of this band had also vanished. There are moments of brilliance like "La Grand Nuit du Port de Peche" and "5/4 Madness," which suggest that things haven't changed at all for this band, but the overriding feel of this album hearkens back to the direction that Live! Not Enough Shouting hinted at — that this is now a band that wishes to suppress their traditional roots in favor of a more boisterous guitar sound. Hence, some of the pizzazz of those earlier albums is lacking here.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

Over the course of nine years, Wolfstone dragged Scottish music -- sometimes kicking and screaming, but always quite loudly -- into the world of rock. They were loud and proud and transferred Seattle's grunge ethic from the Pacific Northwest to the Highlands, applying it to both traditional and their original music. It all began when fiddler Duncan Chisholm put together a ceilidh band to play dances in the Highlands, adding pipes and bass and drums into the mix -- a combination that was well-received....
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Almost an Island, Wolfstone
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