GATHERING, BOREALIS RECORDS
Bagpipes — what a weird sound they make. It’s instantly associated with parades and kilts and not necessarily with modern music, unless it involves texturizing sound for effect. Poor Angus takes that texturizing and makes a great folk/Celtic album out of it.
The opening title track blares amazing bagpipe riffs and band build-up to produce an incredibly distinct instrumentation of Celtic music. “Never Come Back” is Poor Angus’s most well-known track, and with good reason — it took them to the top four of the CBC Star Search Competition. With a catchy Mumford & Sons-style guitar strum, four-part harmonies in the chorus and moving flute and violin instrumentations, the song takes the listener across Canada and firmly plants them on the shores of Newfoundland, looking over the grass-green cliffs to the ocean below.
“Silver Islet” is a typical folk song of the working man, but it is intense imagery and emotion that Poor Angus pour out over the simple guitar chords. It all builds to an emotional climax headed by flute and violin. Tracks like this one are perfect examples of the simplicity of this style of music that goes beyond its construction and connects the basic humanity in all of us.
As a debut album from Poor Angus, Gathering is a sheer spectacle.The album alternates between instrumentals and lyrical songs, and this pattern keeps the listener engaged without becoming predictable. Its traditional roots in multiple cultures is both a throwback to times gone past and an example of globalization at work. The music and lyrics speak to a wide range of people, while continuing to embrace their own heritage.
By Kraig Brachman