Capercaillie

Delirium

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With their lush and frequently downright funky arrangements of tunes both traditional and modern and their habit of utilizing electric and electronic instruments as extensively as traditional acoustic ones, it's no wonder that the members of Capercaillie often find themselves being compared to Clannad, an Irish group that takes a similar approach to the music of its region. And yet Capercaillie's modern twist on the Scottish tradition is almost always more satisfying than Clannad's take on the Irish -- perhaps because there's always a core of iron in Capercaillie's sound, whereas Clannad frequently dissolve into new age hokeyness. Listen carefully to the deceptively pretty "Waiting for the Wheel to Turn" -- it's about the "clearances" of the 18th century, a series of wholesale evictions of peasants by their lords. "Coisich, a Rùin," on which Karen Matheson's voice soars above a bed of exotic percussion, is eerily gorgeous; "You Will Rise Again" flirts with bathos without ever giving in. Other Capercaillie albums are more consistently involving, but this one is highly recommended.

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