Let's Not and Say We Did

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Crannog's debut album is Let's Not and Say We Did. This foursome was from New Zealand when the recording was made in 1998, though several members have since relocated overseas. With Jamie McClennan in Glasgow in 2001, and others in the U.K., a reunion set is unlikely, so listeners will have to regard this as a stand-alone album. However, those who take to this New Zealand-flavored variation on Celtic music will want to keep an ear open for the next bands that these capable performers may show up in. "The Coffee Plunger Set" has some very agreeable and fast-paced fiddling by McClennan, skillfully meshed with the other instruments to produce an engaging whole. All their instrumental numbers, from "B Minor Set" to "Paddy and the Mouse" to "Dusty Window Ledge/Bonnie's Blue Brozzie," are engagingly performed. With McClennan and Duncan Davidson also writing songs, there's a good variety of original material, from the gently lilting mazurka "Kath's Joy" to the brash Irish band vocal sound of "Looking Back," which anticipates their breaking up and moving on. "Ann Marie's Hat" adds an accordion centered number from Davidson. The album notes for "Clumsy Lover/Lexie McAskill" actually apologize for the speed (and they get it building up to quite fast!) of the performance, noting, "We did it because we can." A brisk and lively job they make of it, too. "Black Is the Colour" is pleasant for casual listening, however the vocals get lost in the instrumentals at places. This is a minor caveat, though, and the album's merits clearly outweigh it. So, this is the work of four young men who performed together for a time, and then moved on, and listeners can be glad of the record they left of where they've been.