This is the debut album from Scotland's Shooglenifty. While clearly a band rooted firmly in the folk music of Scotland, Shooglenifty could also qualify as a charter member of the Celtic jam band association given the group's propensity for wandering all over the proverbial musical map. While traditional tunes are frequently the basis for the band's melodies, it's the improvisations on those themes and the ensuing uncharted musical ground that is unveiled that make Shooglenifty unique. Invariably, those excursions include samplings of bluegrass and Middle Eastern styles, sometimes enhanced further with techno and ambient effects. But they don't rely on programmed instrumentation, as all sounds emanate from stringed instruments like fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitars, and are steered by an extremely tight bass and drum rhythm section. Venus in Tweeds proved to be merely the tip of the iceberg from this creative outfit from Scotland, as future releases would introduce newer and more unusual elements into the group's music.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Sleger