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Rope Tricks

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Album Review

Celtic Nots is from Spokane, WA, and perform an interesting fusion of Celtic and world music styles. "So Early in the Spring" is a pleasantly melodic ballad, but the vocalist performs it so softly that listeners may wish they could urge him to raise the volume a bit. There are places where the words are not clearly distinguishable. So while Celtic Nots shows admirable instrumental skill, this first effort of theirs indicates a need to strengthen their vocals on some selections. Hopefully that will develop, given time. "Lannigan's Ball" is a long comic song to start with, and there's really no need for scatting on the end of it, but they put it in anyway. This illustrates a tendency the Nots have, to run on when they might get a better effect by tightening it up a bit. On the other hand, "Skye Boat Song," performed a cappella, shows what they can do when they belt it out a bit more enthusiastically. This traditional song works very effectively, and becomes one of the most memorable songs on the album. "Slow Aire," a solo flute performance, is also lucid and haunting. So, it's a bit of a mixed bag on this debut album. It's enjoyable, yet not always as memorable as listeners might wish, and there are definitely aspects they could polish up some more. Still, it shows promise — they're a likable group with merry senses of humor, as the puns in their name and album title show, and it may be that future releases will build on this initial effort. Keep an ear on them for what develops next.

Rope Tricks, Celtic Nots
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