Boiled in Lead

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It's been a long, long time since BiL released an album of new material, and for the most part they've kept the group alive with annual St. Patrick's day concerts. It might be a surprise, then, to have them come back so strongly. There's the usual crosscultural mix, a sprinkling of trad folk ("House Carpenter," "Apple Tree Wassail"), some trips outside Western culture ("Menfi," "Berber"), and some contemporary material. It all fits well together. They might not have quite the punk attitude that characterized their work 20 years ago, but older and wiser also translates into more finesse -- listen to the playing on "Corner House" or the slide work that colors "Menfi," for instance -- and a blend of songs and instrumental material. They can still fire up a storm, though, and with enough variety to give a delicious breadth to the sound, and a special mention to drummer and percussionist Robin Anders who uses both the kit and assorted instruments to add a lot to the sound. A welcome return, but don't stay away so long next time.

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