Castle Keep

A Taste Of

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Castle Keep needs to work on their presentation in their EP A Taste Of. "High Germany" is a light and lilting rendition, but, unfortunately, Jodee James' vocals, though pleasing to the ear, are at times indistinct, and listeners may find themselves wishing she'd articulated more clearly. There's a similar problem on their version of "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore." As with quite a few modern Celtic groups, Castle Keep has its female lead vocalist singing men's lyrics, and it just doesn't ring emotionally true to traditionalists, although casual listeners will probably still enjoy it. You may wish that her male compatriots would venture a vocal performance now and then, though, in addition to their skillful strings and percussion playing. "The Blacksmith," a traditional tale of a woman whose lover abandons her, needs a remix, as the strong chords at times overwhelm the vocals. It's also odd that they add an unrelated dance tune at the end of the ballad. This sampling will probably appeal more to casual listeners. Castle Keep has talents, but less than stellar recording and arranging does not show them at their best here. Hopefully future releases will correct this.