‘Captain Glen’s Comfort’ from Pons Aelius - intricate, expansive and wholly engaging(July 23, 2017)
Aside from being a fort and Roman settlement on Hadrian's Wall, the name Pons Aelius also belongs to a band that is taking tradition to places it never thought to go, and in the process making invention and innovation bywords for their music. Their debut album, ‘Captain Glen’s Comfort’ mixes some sparkling and imaginative originals with tunes from such luminaries as Mats Edén, Neil Davey and the inimitable Donald MacLeod ... the band add these to a mix of double bass, guitar and bodhrán, flute, whistle, bagpipe, mandolin and banjo ... which results in an album that’s intricate, expansive and wholly engaging.
Their inspirations take music from wherever they find their creative spark, leading to an diverse exciting mix ... opening with the involving presence of ‘Molly and Jimmy’s’, they move to an interpretation of ‘The Way is Clear’ by Neil Davey, before a sensational version of Mats Edén’s ‘Yrsnö’. Throughout, the interaction between Jordan Aikin’s bagpipes and whistles, Tom Kimber’s mandolin and banjo and Sam Partridge’s flutes sweep, soar and circle around the rock-solid foundation laid down by Bevan Morris on double bass, Alasdair Paul's guitar and Callum Younger's bodhrán and percussion. The title track ‘Captain Glen’s Comfort’ penned by Aikin and Partridge, displays their expressive composing skill, as does the vivacious ‘£75 Fine’, while the combination of ‘Lament For John Morrison of Assynt House’ by Pipe Major MacLeod with ‘Take it To The Urlar!’ binds deep-seated respect to proficient creativity.
Pons Aelius are Jordan Aikin (Great Highland bagpipes, whistles) Tom Kimber (mandolin, tenor banjo) Bevan Morris (double bass) Sam Partridge (concert timber flutes) Alasdair Paul (guitar, bouzouki) and Callum Younger (bodhrán, cymbals, percussion). They release ‘Captain Glen’s Comfort’ on 8th September accompanied by a UK and European tour
Review: Tim Carroll