Whether you call it psych folk, croftadelia, or whatever, Shooglenifty connect the dots between Scottish folk and the club scene in the same way that the Stone Roses or Primal Scream offered a link between rock and dance music in the late '80s. No programmed beats, no samples, just real instruments, a lot of attitude, and the experience of raves to make this music real and relevant to a new generation. The acid test, of course, is can they do it live, and, on the evidence of this album (recorded, truly, in the village hall in Box, where Real World is located), the answer has to be, yes they can. "The Pipe Tunes" makes for a masterful, commanding beginning, and from there they breeze through a full set of largely self-composed music -- although very firmly rooted in the ceilidhs of their native land. The major exception of "Hopstoi," borrowed from the Värttinä tune book, but which fits in perfectly with its strong but supple groove. Kudos to the rhythm section here, who do a great job (and fleshed out by Transglobal Underground's Neil Sparkes on "Waiting for Conrad"), but the front line of Malcolm Crosbie, Angus R. Grant, Iain MacLeod, and Garry Finlayson weave a marvelous web on top, working off each other like a rock band, not folkies, to take the music higher. It's impossible not to move and feel celebratory listening to this, and to understand that Shooglenifty are the true modern heirs of the ceilidh crown. You can only imagine that the walls of the village hall were dripping with sweat that night.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson