Let's just come right out and say it: no band has modernized traditional Celtic music as successfully as Capercaillie, and none has had such a consistent run of top-notch releases. That they've done so over the course of roughly 20 years is nothing short of astounding. On Roses and Tears, as with all of the best of their previous work, that success is down to several equally important factors: Karen Matheson's clear and sweet-timbred voice, one that negotiates what is sometimes treacherously difficult melodic material with no apparent effort; a band that can recast traditional tunes in a modern setting without any sign of condescension and without cutting any musical corners, and a willingness to incorporate modern technology without a second thought, coupled with an unwillingness to use technology just for the sake of sounding "modern." Most of the material on this album is traditional in origin, and there is a nice mix of vocal and instrumental tunes -- with an emphasis on songs, as there should be when one has a voice like Matheson's on tap. The strongest songs are the Gaelic ones, including the trippingly lovely "Turas an Ànraidh" and a gorgeous and funky rendition of "Him Bò". If the English-language selections are less effective, it's largely because they tend towards topical material (notably John Martyn's excoriating anti-war song "Don't You Go") that will flatter the sensibilities of most listeners but add little of political substance to the issues at hand and not much of musical substance either. Overall, though, this is an exceptionally fine album and a more than worthy contribution to Capercaillie's distinguished catalog.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson