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MALINKY - Far Better Days

MALINKY - Far Better Days
Private Label MM001

Well this is a pleasant surprise.  Normally when a band announces they're "taking a break" and haven't produced a CD for seven years, the next stage is the announcement of the band's demise. Malinky, however, are back with a new CD and a smattering of dates.  Mike Vass is back and so is Mark Dunlop, and Steve Byrne and Fiona Hunter complete the quartet.

So, how does it sound?  Well - fantastic actually.  As a band dedicated to exploring Scots song and with three Child Ballads and three songs from the monumental Greig-Duncan collection on the menu, it might have been a bit earnest, but no such problem here.  As soon as Fiona Hunter (currently the best female singer of traditional material) rips into Tarves Parish you know you're in for a treat. Her voice contrasts nicely with the more percussive style of Steve Byrne and there are a couple of beauties from the more legato sound of Mark Dunlop.

Arrangements are exciting, delicate and always completely appropriate, being used to control the emotion and point up the lyrics.  Good clean production from Donald Shaw allows the individual timbres to shine through.  Drawbacks?  It would have been nice to have a couple more tracks, but then, I'm just greedy.  All-in-all, a very strong early contender for record of the year. 

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 107 of The Living Tradition magazine.