Think Before You Think

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The sophomore effort from this very young Irish band is one of the best traditional folk albums to come out this year; not since the early work of Altan has a new group sounded this fresh and exciting. Danu draws almost exclusively from traditional sources, but its members aren't afraid to mess around with tradition when it pleases them (throwing, for example, the occasional contrapuntal harmony line into the mix on the reel "I'm Ready Now"), nor is their playing bogged down by earnest folkie reverence. Bodhran player Donnchadh Gough is especially creative, holding the pulse down firmly, yet varying his rhythmic and timbral approach widely from tune to tune. Singer Ciaran O Gealbhain is underused, appearing only on a few tracks, some of which are among the album's best. His singing on "Green Brooms" and "An Paistin Fionn" is gently lovely, and he even manages to breathe new life into as tired a song as "Fair and Tender Ladies," which is one of this disc's highlights. The instrumental sets are also uniformly excellent. Highly recommended.

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