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TRIP - A Drop For Neptune 

TRIP - A Drop For Neptune 
Private Label TMRCD001 

This is a rousing debut from a six-piece trad band who came from Scotland, Ireland, England and the Isle of Man to study at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. The nine tracks on this 43-minute album follow a maritime theme with a mix of lively, driving sets, gentler tunes with subtle arrangements, and a smattering of contemporary songs. The idea is that in a time of uncertainty and isolation brought about by the global pandemic, the sea is something that connects us all.

The band members are Michael Biggins (accordion), Isla Callister (fiddle and backing vocals), Tiernan Courell (flute and whistle), Alasdair Mackenzie (guitar and vocals), Rory Matheson (piano) and Craig Baxter (bodhrán).

Stand out tracks for me were the title track (Neptune deserves a drop after what we have put him through); The Ninth Wave, which explores the fusion of old and new in trad music; Flaith na Faiche, which is Tiernan’s tribute to his childhood dog Rusty (not noticeably maritime, but it’s good); and the closing Towards The Storm, a tour de force taking us from calm seas to the eye of the storm. The songs are John Doyle’s The Arabic (about the sinking of SS Arabic in 1915); and Isla’s song Turning Tides (sung by Alasdair), about a return to the Isle of Man during the first lockdown, and the sea’s eternal pull.

Many of the tunes are self-written, and are of high quality. I hope that the band’s talents will take them far and that they can sail through easier times.

Tony Hendry


This review appeared in Issue 142 of The Living Tradition magazine