Review Archive

‘Almost Home’ from Mad Dog Mcrea - limitless freedom of expression

(January 24, 2015)

So there’s a new album on the way from Mad Dog Mcrea – bloody good! By the way, that’s an expression of delight rather than a considered review of the album, then again, ‘bloody good’ is 
Mad Dog Mcrea front coverabsolutely right for both. Their latest album, ‘Almost Home’ is without doubt their best to date, encompassing the drive and dynamism of their notorious live sets, it also shows how far Mad Dog MCrea have come. The musicianship is tighter, with more depth and intensity to the songwriting. And that’s obvious right across the breadth of their blend of Celtic-edged, gypsy-influenced, jazz-shaded, bluegrass-tinged, folk rock. Add the familiar and seemingly limitless freedom of expression and this is an album that will add even more fans to the Mad Dog Mcrea roster.

Laden with infectious tunes, replete with memorable hooks and brimming with pointed opinion and critical comment, the songs make no concessions to anything and take no prisoners. And don’t fall into the trap of labelling their songs as ‘all rush and tear’, there’s far more to this band than ‘ripping out’ the tunes – hence the comment about intensity of songwriting. The title track ‘Almost Home’ leads off in recognisable style with its semi-autobiographical narrative and kick-ass rhythms, ‘Talking Through Walls’ exudes a similar energy with equal authenticity, before they work more truth through the pulsating ‘You Can’t Find Me’. A step-change into a more meditative vein comes as ‘The Sound’ delivers its pragmatic life-view in conjunction with evocative flute and fiddle, and the mournful honesty of ‘Whiskey Man’ with its hard tale overflowing with pain. The tale of ‘Devonside’ has to become a crowd favourite as does ‘Heart of Stone’ with its perplexed lyrics and insistent muscle.

‘Almost Home’ shows the band marking yet another milepost on its journey – it really is a bloody good piece of work, well worth your time and money. And when listening, should your feet and fingers remain still or your mind remain unmoved, you should check your pulse.

Mad Dog Mcrea are Michael Mathieson (guitar, vocals) Dan Crimp (whistles, flute) Jimi Galvin (bass) Dave Podmore (bouzouki, banjo) Pete Chart (drums) and Nicki Powell (fiddle). Find the band, their music and tour details here: www.maddogmcrea.co.uk - ‘Almost Home’ releases on God Dam Records on 16 March 2015.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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