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Elephant Sessions Elephant Sessions
Album: All We Have Is Now
Label: Elephant
Tracks: 9

Having seen the Highland neo-trad quintet tha make up Elephant Sessions back at Cambridge Folk Festival a couple of years back around the time of 'the Elusive Highland Beauty', they've been in the 'to do' list. What struck back then was the energy and verve with which they attacked traditional roots music with lashings of electronica, rock, funk and percussion - the latter being the element that always gives folk music a bit of oomph.

Their new record promises to be "a statement of what traditional music can be and where it is going" and yes they could easily be accused of dong their bit to push the boundaries of instrumental music. Question is can they capture their raw live energy? 'Wet Field Day' (possibly folk festival inspired?) goes some way to answering the question particularly when Euan Smillie's fiddle kicks in to breathe in life, take the lead and drive the piece onwards and upwards.

They're not all about the fast and furious though not being averse to turning a jazzy phrase or two and their concession to a lament slows the pace down, even going a bit eighties in the cool vibe of 'Summer'. It when the pace gets picked up though when Elephant Session come into heir own. 'Dirty' has an insistent and potentially breakneck Gallic flavour - one that onstage you can visualise whipping up a storm and upping the tempo to ridiculous levels. Next to the brilliantly titled and remotely bluesy 'I Used To Be A Nice Boy', they provide a pair that provide the more obvious folk infused moments but why fix what ain't broken?

Overall, 'All We Have Is Now' does what it says on tin and celebrates the here and now. Takes it by the scruff of the neck and flies with it. Another fine example of the current vibrancy of the Scots music scene.

Mike Ainscoe