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Reviews

Tannara Tannara
Album: Strands
Label: Braw Sailin
Tracks: 8
Website: http://www.tannaramusic.com

Since releasing their debut album, Trigg, back in 2016, Tannara have established themselves as an exciting live act, creating music that is innovative and engaging. Two years in the making, Strands shows how far the band have come in creating a cohesive sound that is unique to them.

Opening track Smiling blends together two contrasting tunes, Brudenell River and The Smiling Morn'. The arrangement plays about with light and shade, contrasting percussion and bass driven passages with quieter, atmospheric transitions. The balance between the instruments is fantastic, the harp in particular is very easy to hear through the textures. The Good Ship is a lively reel. In contrast, Jc starts with the much more laidback Jean Cotton before building the intensity and tempo into A Bird Never Flew On One Wing. The harp led transition between tunes works perfectly and the tunes make an excellent pair. Costie's opens with an ethereal introduction before the accordion brings in the tune. The contrast between the accordion pedal bass and the harp above creates some really interesting textural variety. The ever changing textures created as melody and accompanying duties are passed between the instruments make this track a particularly engaging one for the listener and show what you can do with a beautifully simple tune. The final tune set is a band composed one and best displays the united musicality of Tannara. To write a tune as an individual can be challenging, to merge four sets of musical ideas so successfully is impressive.

Alongside the strong instrumental numbers are three songs, two by guitarist and vocalist Owen Sinclair and the third has lyrics by Les Sullivan and music by Sinclair. All three songs speak of relationships, love and loss. The addition of Josie Duncan's backing vocals is the icing on the cake of some outstanding arrangements. In Jutland, the use of samples from the School of Scottish Studies archive is really effective and connects the song with the events on which it is based.

Overall this is an album that has been lovingly and thoughtfully crafted by a group of musicians with a clear vision for the finished product. It's not impressive for flashy pyrotechnics but for its cohesion and unity. This talented group have woven together a sound that is creatively original, where they take it next will be well worth listening to. Tannara are continuing their love of performing with live dates across the UK later in the year, worth catching if they're near you.

Nicky Grant