Shooglenifty / Radical Mestizo
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cd cover Shooglenifty
Radical Mestizo
Compass Records

Shooglenifty shows on this live CD why they are the kings of acid-Celt. The ten tracks here were recorded at five different locations, but are paced such that it gives the impression of a single concert. This could be viewed as cheating - take only the strongest tracks of each concert and edit them to make the listener think that the performance was one nonstop onslaught of hot tunes. Ignore the conceit and enjoy the music.

The band dumps their entire bag of tricks out onto the stage - the whole sack of reggae, funk, highlife, and psychedelia in which they cloak their sometimes quirky jigs and reels. The focus is on driving numbers. There is little in the way of tender airs or romantic waltzes. While this makes the disc a great party record, as a casual listen it's a little exhausting. While the band is relentlessly inventive in their arrangements, they could be accused of relying on the slow-to-fast build-up gimmick a bit too much. "Carboni's Farewell," for example would stand on its own beautifully as an atmospheric air. It doesn't really need to kick into a high gear jig at the end. Sometimes it seems that they're being experimental because they can, not because it's well-advised. But if being too creative is a fault, we should all be so guilty. Witness, for example, the deep psych-funk of "Schumann's Leap" or the reggae dub groove of "Heading West." No one will ever accuse these Scots of being dour and straitlaced. - Peggy Latkovich

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