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The year 2012 has been an almighty one for the International blend of talent that make up The Outside Track. With awards of Best group and Best Vocalist for Norah Rendell from Live Ireland and a National tour complete, they have also been busy with their latest release entitled Flash Company.
These UL music graduates are serious about their music and perfectionists when it comes to submitting an album to the public that proves its musical worth. The care taken with the arrangements, harmonies and the quality of execution is notable and the result is an accomplished eleven tracks that are worth the listen.
The title track is taken from the song made famous by both Norma Waterson and June Tabor with which Norah applies additional lyrics and a taste of nostalgia to the mix whilst Rankin’s fiddle intertwines a tantalising taste of the slow air My Cape Breton Home as the strings and accordion embody the air with a flourish.
Rendell also captures the essence of the song in The Mountain Road, which is enhanced by quirky instrumental phrasing and soft backing vocals that blend perfectly. The track has been released separately as a download with all proceeds divided between three well–deserving charities.
On the instrumental side the Body Parts Set begins with a delicate string intro making way for Rankin’s fiddle to shine, interspersing with the other instruments until Black slowly makes away on accordion with the instantly recognisable (from Sharon Shannon) Neckbelly –love that tune! A favourite of mine is the Rankin penned Kelly Pecks. The string intro, the placing of each instrument within the composition and O’Dálaigh’s guitar combine perfectly and then gives way, via the harp strings of Robertson, into a choice arrangement on the Eric Favreau jig named Le Petit Sarny which continues to lift with a quality of execution that is flawless. Fishcakes and Brandy unites fluid sounds with a static edginess that is especially highlighted in the second tune (written by Robertson) which builds into a fusion of sound that is held within the boundaries by the guest percussion of Ewan Baird.
With the individual musical accomplishments of this band at a premium, I wouldn’t have expected any less than the high class production they have produced in Flash Company. For a lesson in where it’s at; this is a compulsive listen.
Eileen McCabe – Irish Music Magazine, 2012