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The orange cover artwork shows the silhouette of a bare tree with birds on its branches. One should be aware that experience and wisdom can bring about something excellent. I had the pleasure listening to Fine Friends by Sliotar. A band interview is coming out soon.

The few chords of  the opening track remind you that Sliotar  can pack a wallop. Stick the Kettle On is an instrumental tune with captivating grooves. The uilleann pipes of Ray MacCormac remind you that pipes replace electric guitars here. A quarter to two minutes of this song will send you pogo dancing with gusto.

All Too Real showcases the band’s songwriting style that has that adult alternative twist. Even JP Kallo’s singing style fits the format. For those who like their Irish music more contemporary and radio friendly this is a fine example.

All Around Lough Gill is another instrumental tune showcasing the tin whistle. The drumming of Des Gorevan maintains its crunch all throughout the album without being too over powering. It took me several listens to this track alone to note that we are dealing with complicated drum styles here. Listening to music is like detective work. You don’t see pieces of evidence unless you look further and really pay attention.

May Morning Dew is sung without accompaniment. The strong sometimes gruff vocals maintain that expressiveness. The lyrics and the reverb created by either the room size or mixing have that compelling combination.

One Chance is a personal favorite. I like the sunny melody here. JP sings ‘Another Monday morning, coffee keeps you going, running late for work’  I think the Sliotar should expand on this direction more. I hear keyboards. I hear that nice editing effect applied to the last part of the chorus. Whoever did the sound engineering here has done an excellent job. I give this a high- five!

Rays Heel catches you by surprise with its unpredictable arrangement. It begins with that stately tempo, which calls to mind an idle walk , then around 2:50, it explodes into that fast jig that again gets you on your feet.

I could not stop smiling to  Rock-A-Bye Baby. It has that ingratiating appeal in its simplicity and intimacy, stripped of the drums. A perfect song to listen to when you are depressed and you want comfort. ‘Rock-a-bye baby..rain falls from the autumn sky..another wind blows hard and cold..let me keep you warm’ …Catchy!

Tinkering on the Bridge begins with the uilleann pipes and builds up into that foot tapping jig. It changes tempo at 2:05. The energy of this track really makes you rock your body.

Take it As it Is follows the vibe of  track 7 but with the drums. This is one hell of a tear jerker.

Whiskey in the Sauna makes me imagine that I am catching butterflies with my fingers or doing a kung fu/ Arabic dance steps on a Saturday night after meeting kindred spirits. Have you tried drinking whiskey in the sauna?

The album closes with the solo vocal track Fine Friends. It reminds you that after the laughter, everyone must part ways.

The album Fine Friends, also tells us that after listening to all the tracks, you will surely come back for more.This album deserves more listens because like good friends, the songs provide company that are enriching in all aspects.

About Sliotar

Sliotar is a three piece band based in Dublin playing modern folk music.
The roots of the tunes they play come from the music of Ireland,
but in the past few years the group is relying more and more on original
compositions. Sliotars fourth album, Cirque de Sliotar, has finally captured
the modern sound that has been in development and has been an obvious
at their live shows. Sliotar has been around now over twelve years,
eight with the current line up, and they have one of the longest running
residencies in Dublin in the Porterhouse. Also in the past few years
Sliotar have changed their way of touring, resulting the band travelling
all around Europe and even further. And still the Sliotars best asset is
the live show. Around 200 concerts every year keeps the band tight and
the energy of their live show is something that can only be experienced
and is not for the faint hearted.

You can buy Fine Friends here: http://www.sliotarmusic.com/?page_id=44