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Don't Relax, Do It!

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Album Review

This is the second opus from the French Irish band. It signals a certain departure from the first album. Most noticeable is the addition of singer Jo Macera. The leader of labelmate Gypsy band Spakr, Macera has a pleasant gravelly voice that adds a touch of pub rock atmosphere to two songs (he also plays acoustic guitar on most of the other pieces). Another difference between Don't Relax, Do It! and its older sibling is the fact that the track list consists almost exclusively of fresh compositions. The group retains its traditional Irish style, but relies less on the trad repertoire. Tunes like "Gillou Goes to Jallerange" and the title track have been penned by the band, but could be mistaken for time-tested numbers. Blackwater's originality still resides in the pairing of Uilleann pipes (Gaël Rutkowski) and accordion (Sébastien Lagrange), the two fast-paced soloing instruments that propel the group's music. Double bass (Gilles Sommet) and bouzouki (Didier Gris) round up the instrumentation. The absence of percussion is hardly felt, except in "A Commun Day," where the ill-advised use of electronic percussion only serves to remind listeners that a bodhran here and there would have been nice. Percussion resurfaces in the closer, "Pint of Mint Tea," to better avail; as its title announces, this tune has a distinct Algerian flavor, attempting an interesting "Irish rai" fusion that goes down well in the last minutes of the album. The music occasionally references modern times (like the tasty quote from the theme from James Bond in "K'Man vs Dr. No") and always dances effortlessly. Don't Relax, Do It! offers a different take on the Irish sound, without stepping too much out of the way. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Don't Relax, Do It!, Blackwater
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