Reviews

‘Straight Line Talking’ The Savage Prunes - inventive, expressive and above all different

(September 13, 2016)

Take three soloists from diverse musical backgrounds, add a large dose of experimentation, put them together without accompaniment and wait for the sound to fracture as the concoction cannot hold. Right? No, wrong, Savage Prunes album coverespecially if the subject is The Savage Prunes, namely Callum Armstrong (bagpipes, recorders) George Pasca (cello) and John-Francis Goodacre (fiddle) ... with an evident absorption of tradition these three are clearly ready to innovate and experiment taking folk into their own distinctive direction.

Their album, ‘Straight Line Talking’ is inventive, expressive and above all different, melding intrepid instrumental skill with a fearless approach to composition and arrangement, The Savage Prunes create an enthralling polyphonic and melody-driven sound. Their press release states: “... their compositions blur stylistic boundaries, combining the rhythm and drive of traditional dance music, the delicate playfulness of baroque, and the irresistible energy of modern pop.” That’s certainly accurate with the first two points but I’m not absolutely certain I agree with the last one ... allure, vitality and passion are not reserved for pop music, this progressive folk is as addictive and vital as it comes.

The opening track ‘Hamish the Hellhound’ moves you straight to the heart of their style, the title track ‘Straight Line Talking’ continues this trip through the unexpected, while ‘Nicolaus Copernicus’ is a stellar journey without boundaries, before the gentle attraction of ‘I Stood Still’ offers a mellifluous close.

To hear pipes taken miles out of their comfort zone plus cello and fiddle going places many never thought to go, listen to ‘Straight Line Talking’. You can find The Savage Prunes here: thesavageprunes.bandcamp.com

Review: Tim Carroll

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