DEBUT ALBUM 'Gin and Strathspey' Out NOW!
 

FULL REVIEW, Alex Monaghan

 


A trio of hugely accomplished string players, Lyre Lyre creates a big sound which ranges from Scotland to Scandinavia, Brittany to the Balkans and back again in a haze of chicken feathers and fiery botanicals. The sleeve notes are entertainingly provocative, and these three ladies seem to enjoy telling a good story so I would expect live performances to be hilarious. Alice Allen has a background in classical and traditional cello, following in the footsteps of Natalie Haas, and provides bass and percussive accompaniment as well as melody lines here. Patsy Reid has multiple solo albums to her name and plays violin and viola, tenor guitar, and all-important xylophone - a proper wooden one! Marit Fält's Nordic mandola has enhanced many recent albums, and she also plays cittern here. Composing credits are shared between all three band members, as well as by contemporary and historical tunesmiths from several traditions.
The technical delivery, the arrangements, and the sound quality are all flawless. Gin & Strathspey is a polished product, with all the attributes of modern studio recording. Most importantly though, Lyre Lyre's music will move you - "La donna è mobile" in the best possible sense! Whether it's the opening omens of Ondenval, the unbridled joy of Apples for Fred, the dark themes of Trasiga Rocken, the menagerie mayhem of Sam's Chicken or the gentle balm of the final Rest and Be Thankful, every track has an emotional charge, a spiritual effect - and I don't mean the gin. The title track does carry a message, it's fair to say, and its cautionary tale is reinforced by the swaggering Woosie Bird and the saucy Glad Eye. No strathspeys here though, and while you could pigeonhole these pieces as polskas and waltzes, reels and jigs, in the end it's all music, played with love by people with passion and great skill, a gift from Lyre Lyre to you. A tonic perhaps.
© Alex Monaghan (http://www.folkworld.eu/77/e/cds2.html#lyre)