The new EP from Carnoustie celtic rockers Gleadhraich is a triumphant waypoint on their musical journey to date.
‘Where We’re From’ is a pleasing mix of old and new, the five tracks mixing original material composed by the lads themselves and also a couple of cheeky covers which are always guaranteed crowd-pleasers at their live shows.
The title track, written by guitarist/vocalist Ross White and piper Craig Weir, opens deceptively with guitar riffs lulling you into a false sense of security before the trademark bagpipes smash in to remind you of who you are listening to. Ross’s mellow vocals complement the track nicely with his underlying energy and the tune as a whole is a catchy opener.
‘Summer Rain’, also written by Weir, has a punky vibe with grinding guitars overlaid with a complex skirl of pipes. The choppy riffs contrast well with the increasingly intricate piping and the introduction of some brass adds a welcome ska edge, something Gleadhraich has previously dabbled with.
Another original piece, ‘Lost In Guangzhou’, again by Weir, feels like a journey with a destination firmly in mind as the strident electric guitar, bright drums and expressive drums take you on a trip.
The EP’s two covers are also a delight. ‘I’m A Believer’ is a cheery cover of the Monkees’ classic, which again brings in that ska brass for some punctuation and the inventive addition of an accordion makes for an interesting counterpoint and gives it a modern and unique take.
Seeing Ah-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ on the playlist created a temptation to skip ahead, but we resisted and the wait was worth it. Plucky and full of confidence, the guitar solo was satisfyingly rich and rocky and the pipes probably improved on the original vocals, the whole track had a German polka band feel giving it a kitschy, fun vibe, and we bet that will become a live favourite.
‘Where We’re From’ sees Gleadhraich at a crossroads in their musical career, it acts as a signpost of their beginnings as ingenious musical meddlers and points at a more complex and rich future of their own making.
The EP line up: Craig Weir, bagpipes; Ross White, guitar / vocals; Paul Weir, percussion; Graeme Ritchie, bass guitar. Guest artistes: Ewan Barrack, saxophone, keyboard; Jordan Robertson, trombone; Kerr Barrack, accordion.