UISCEDWR - Fish Cat Door

UISCEDWR - Fish Cat Door
Yukka Records: YRCD04

Life not going quite to plan?  Weather not as warm as you’d like?  Need a bit of cheering up?  This’ll do the trick.  Uiscedwr’s nearly-eponymous third album is an almost total joy: its mix of songs and tunes should bring a smile to the face and a tap to the toe of anyone within earshot.  Even when Anna complains about her medications, as she does on Prescription Junkie, the vocals and instrumentation combine to create an upbeat feeling of celebration.

This is the band’s first album since Anna Esslemont’s bone marrow transplant in 2006.  The core of Uiscedwr is unchanged; Esslemont on fiddle and vocals and Cormac Byrne on bodhran and other assorted percussion.  James Hickman, on guitar, and Karen Tweed, on accordion, join them for this recording.  Tweed’s accordion playing is particularly fine but the other musicians are far from outplayed. The beautiful End Of The Day, by Katie Bennett, brings the finest ensemble playing on the album as well as Esslemont’s best vocal performance.  On the tunes Byrne’s percussion offers an original and sympathetic underpinning to the lead instruments.

A cover of Jim Malcolm’s Neptune closes the album.  The band’s arrangement is original, but the song’s rather unsubtle eco-lyric sounds rather stilted in comparison to the album’s earlier songs: it’s a rather disappointing end to a lovely and uplifting record.  But that’s a minor quibble – this is a fine collection of songs and tunes, played with great skill and energy.

Bruce Lindsay

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.