Shooglenifty

Radical Mestizo

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AllMusic Review by

Shooglenifty have released some fine studio albums, but nothing compares to experiencing them live, where they stretch out and let the pieces really breathe. In concert, they're probably the closest Scotland comes to an American jam band, even though they have some fairly complex arrangements to go along with their remarkable instrumental skills. And just how good those skills are is vividly shown here. No single person stands out -- they're very much a band working and pushing each other, where on the European fire of "A Fistful of Euros," which morphs into a devilish jig, or the exquisite "Carboni's Farewell," whose main melody is as lovely as anything to be found in classical music. It's a disc of sublime moments, such as the small space on "The Arm's Dealer's Daughter" where the band seems to take a collective breath before plunging back into the tune to bring it to an almighty climax. This is the record that brings Shooglenifty's "croftadelic" ideal to full recorded reality. And if you believe jigs and reels can't have a real touch of psychedelia, you haven't heard the unjustly titled "Scraping the Barrel," which staggers with its musicianship (which it's intended to do -- a sort of modern counterpart to Fairport Convention's "Dirty Linen"). The music on Radical Mestizo is electric, both literally and figuratively, a jolt of energy that's the equivalent of 100 Red Bulls.

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