Irish supergroup Lúnasa released its worldwide debut album in 1999, but several years previously the band had made an eponymous album on its own and issued it in Ireland. This reissue includes ten of the album's original 11 tracks, some of them recorded live and some in the studio, and adds two previously unreleased live performances. The sound is generally fine if not spectacular, but the playing is consistently thrilling. Lúnasa's rhythmic daring and the prominent use of Trevor Hutchinson's string bass mean that the band sounds significantly different from its more trad-oriented contemporaries -- the tricky time signatures on their rendition of Grey Larsen's "Thunderhead" sound more klezmerish than anything else, while their more traditional take on Pierre Bensusan's hornpipe "The Last Pint" combines flute and low whistle to gorgeous effect. Piper John McSherry gets to flaunt his prodigious chops on a stomping rendition of "Colonel Frasier," and fiddler Sean Smyth does the same on the beautiful "Fleur de Madragore." This is an exceptional debut by a band that would go on to become even better.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson