Top to bottom ‘The Untied Knot’ is a fine piece of work awash with spectacular displays of musicianship and bewildering levels of innovation – Folk Words
This is a class act, truly in line for album of the year – Simon Jones, fROOTS
Remarkably exciting and fresh ***** – Billy Rough, Songlines
Gaelic vocalist Kaela Rowan fits Shooglenifty’s skilfully knitted left-field sound as snugly as a kilt – The Australian
This is Shooglenifty’s seventh studio album, and the first to feature a collection of songs. The breathtaking ‘puirt a beul’ (mouth music) of Gaelic vocalist Kaela Rowan brings a captivating and energising new element to the band’s sound, and further confounds any attempt to categorise them.
The Untied Knot drops additional pins in the Shoogles’ map of international influences, this time hitting the road from Scotland to Rajasthan. Watch out for James Mackintosh and Kaela Rowan’s The High Road To Jodhpur, a tune that makes that connection explicit, whilst Burns’s Tam o’Shanter is the ‘closer to home’ inspiration for the title track by Quee MacArthur.
Former band member Luke Plumb’s fresh compositions – the psychedelic Arms of Sleep and The Highway Carpark, a ‘hurry up and wait’ classic – are included, whilst new mandolin player Ewan MacPherson makes his mark with three tunes. His Somebody’s Welcome To Somewhere, a tongue-in-cheek Highland march, features the princely pipes of a guesting Ross Ainslie. Ewan also contributes a dark nautical romp The Devil’s Breath Hornpipe, and speedy pair of reels clearly spawned by the Shoogle dance gene: Samhla Reel/Scolpaig.
A dazzling contribution by Garry ‘Banjo’ Finlayson, The Scorpian (sic) is a fascinating and enigmatic creature, whilst Fitzroy’s Crossing, the striking Antipodean closing track by Shooglenifty front man Angus R Grant, is proof positive that there is no musical journey this band can’t take.
The Untied Knot/The Fall/Mile Marbhaisg Air A’ Ghaol | The Scorpian/The Devil’s Breath Hornpipe | Samhla Reel/Scolpaig | Somebody’s Welcome To Somewhere | Do Chrochadh A Thoill Thu, Thoill Thu/Nighean Rudh’ Bhàn Bh’aig Dòmhnall Ruadh Piobair/The Spice of Life | The Highway Carpark | Peaches/Monkswell Road/Meal Do Bhrògan | The High Road To Jodhpur/Am Bothan a Bh’aig Fionnghuala | The Arms of Sleep | Ruidhleadh Mo Nighean Donn/Am Buachaille Dubh Fionnghal | Fitzroy Crossing
Angus R. Grant: Fiddle | Garry Finlayson: Banjo, Banjax, Darabouka | Ewan MacPherson: Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, Guitar, Jaw Harp, Zurna | James Mackintosh: Drums, Percussion, Programming, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Keyboard, Vocals | Malcolm Crosbie: Guitars | Quee MacArthur: Bass
Kaela Rowan: Vocals on tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 | Luke Plumb: Mandolin on tracks 6 and 9 | Conrad Ivitsky Molleson: Bass on tracks 1, 4 and 8 | Ross Ainslie: Whistle on tracks 1 and 11, Pipes on track 4 | Dave Milligan: Piano on track 4