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ALBIREO - Binary

ALBIREO - Binary
Flying Swan Records CYG010

A sure sign of the ageing process is when time seems to pass by quicker and quicker, and it doesn’t seem seven years since I first enthused about Albireo’s debut album. Has it been worth the wait for number two? Absolutely it has.

This release lives up to its title by comprising two CDs, the first one primarily for listening to, the second for dancing to. However, you’ll find that both are equally amenable to either pastime. Albireo comprise Sean Bechhofer, guitar; Peter Crowther, bass guitar, harp; Steve Hodgskiss, English concertina, piano, keyboard; Howard Jones, Anglo concertina, melodeon, hammered dulcimer, recorder; and Tom Kitching, fiddle, mandolin, mandola. The material ranges from ultra-traditional sources such as the Playford collections and Henry Purcell to contemporary and self-penned compositions, but no matter the sources, the resulting sound is an absolute knock-out.

The playing is crisp and clear throughout, which balances their love and appreciation of their English roots with arrangements which are punchy and innovative. This is a collection that you will never tire of listening to, but when you feel compelled to dance, simply access their website, where you will find instructions for all the danceable sets, helpfully set out on separate pages for printing off and using, either as caller or dancer. There’s a helpful synopsis of the sets inside the box which gives rhythms, bars and times, so no excuses for sitting still! A superb follow-up album – let’s not have to wait so long for the next one!

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.