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The Morrigan - Rides Out CD (album) cover


The Morrigan


Prog Folk

3.69 | 15 ratings

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4 stars Ever since FAIRPORT CONVENTION timidly dipped their toes into Celtic folk rock oceans in 1968, bands have expounded upon, indeed shattered the template many times over, and deftly carved progressive veins into their rock. Without pretensions to exhaustiveness on my part, STEELEYE SPAN and HORSLIPS broke more ground in the 1970s, MOVING HEARTS and RUNRIG in the 1980s, and the MORRIGAN in the 1990s. The feminine voice is no gimmick here. While Cathy Alexander's do hit the mark, this would be just as good with a male lead singer, arguably unlike MOSTLY AUTUMN and KARNATAKA, who were never full time Celts anyway.

This is electrified high energy music that blasts out jigs, reels, ballads and rock songs in a decidedly organic manner. Lead guitar and a host of plugged in keyboards lean appealingly against the varied traditional instrumentation and melodies and aggressively squeeze out their essence like that juicer you never thought you would need again.

While all but a few of the more objective interpretations are appealing, I especially enjoy hearing well known tunes put to hitherto unanticipated lyrics and beats. Among these are the reggae splashed "Night Comes Closer"; the vocal harmony stunner "The Well Below the Valley", which I never thought I would want to hear again in any form; and "Tom O'Bedlam", the creepy centuries old tale of an insane asylum. But the unfamiliar ones have become fast friends - "Girls will you Take Him/Four Time Over" and "Corpus Christi" solidify the choral and arranging skills of the band, the latter particularly in the bass and percussion department.

Rare are the bands with one foot entirely in the past and the other boldly in the future, but this is where the MORRIGAN stands comfortably and more than a little edgily.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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