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Folkwords – Flash Company review

‘Flash Company’ deep-seated authority from The Outside Track

(August 16, 2012)

Bands change – that’s a given. Some radically alter their sound, several chop and change the line up, while others evolve and craft their changes almost organically. With these bands their music matures and develops – each album grows beyond the experiences of its predecessors. From the eponymous ‘Outside Track’ in 2007 through the expansion of ‘Curious Things Given Wings’ in 2010, to their latest album ‘Flash Company’ it’s clear that The Outside Track have gone through evolution rather than revolution. The skill remains and the flair persists, as does the marvellous blend of heritage and influence but there’s an additional sublime poise that gives ‘Flash Company’ its deep-seated authority.


The wealth of heritage and influence that gives The Outside Track their distinct sound builds its approach and execution on the inspiration of music from Canada, Scotland and Ireland and Cape Breton. The new album opens with a trad-folk classic ‘False Knight On The Road’ augmented here by delicious harmonies and superb strings, they follow with ‘The Body Parts Set’ an intriguing melange of silky-smoothness and lively steps. The title song ‘Flash Company’ a well-known trad delivered in various guises over the years is given a new lift with fiddle and harp, while ‘The Hawk And The Crow’ gains a fine delicacy from this fresh take.


Their grounding reflects their views on traditional songs and blends myriad elements of differing folk traditions, they also have the confidence to forge their own creations from that legacy retaining the relevance of both.


The Outside Track are Fiona Black (accordion, vocals) Cillian O’Dalaigh (guitar, vocals) Mairi Rankin (fiddle, vocals) Norah Rendell (lead vocal, flute, whistles) and Ailie Robertson (harp, vocals).

Reviewer: Dan Holland