Wolfstone

The Chase

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If Big Country had been more of an instrumental band with more of a commitment to folk music, they might have produced a record like this. Wolfstone's second album to date opens with a beautiful and riveting instrumental invocation (a salvage job, no less, from a failed attempt to write a signature tune for the BBC Radio Orkney), followed by a haunting (and hard-rocking) drinking song; it gets better from there, plunging into Scottish history ("The Prophet") and topical songwriting, all of it memorable and gorgeous. The lineup here is Chisholm (fiddle), Ivan Drever (vocals, guitar), Struan Eaglesham (keyboards), Stuart Eaglesham (vocals, guitars), and Andy Murray (electric guitar). Even when they try for a more contemporary sound, as on "The Appropriate Dipstick," the presence of Dougie Pincock's pipes (which start the break solo, and then join with Duncan Chisholm's fiddle) gives the music a challenging duality between the old and the new. The rhythm section -- Neil Hay on bass and John Henderson on drums (who does a killer job on "The Prophet") -- is better integrated into the group's sound, making for a solid piece of folk-rock.

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