Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore are back with their sixth studio album, entitled Evo. Despite the album’s title, and the band’s promise to have “stealthily evolved”, Evo is classic Skerryvore at their very best. Featuring five tunes and six new songs, it showcases all the elements of this eclectic eight-piece, who hail from every far-flung corner of Scotland.
The tunes are vibrant and pulsing, showing why the band is so loved on the festival circuit. With more than a hint of influence from fellow Scots Treacherous Orchestra, tunes such as the atmospheric and exciting opener The Exorcists show off the skills of the band’s melodic instruments. Fiddler Craig Espie, accordion-playing brothers Daniel and Martin Gillespie, and piper Scott Wood (the band’s newest member) provide a multi-dimensional and exciting sound. They are always backed by the wonderfully driving rhythm section of Alec Dalglish on guitar, Jodie Bremaneson on bass, Fraser West on drums, and Alan Scobie on keyboards. Another highlight is the tune Trip to Modera, but if there is a criticism to be made, it is that the tunes are all somewhat similar.
Thankfully they are interspersed with Alec Dalglish’s excellent songs. Dalglish has matured into a superb, nuanced songwriter, from massive anthems like Live Forever, to cheesy love songs like the almost impossibly catchy Take My Hand. These songs are an absolute joy, and Dalglish hits all the right emotional buttons in songs like At the End of the Line and Waiting for the Sun, while always maintaining the overall upbeat vibe of the album.
Towards the end of the album comes the exquisite tune Soraidh Slan, which provides the only moment of respite from the band’s relentless pace. Their slow playing is gorgeous, but we are treated to only two minutes of it before being brought back to earth by the high-energy guitar intro of the finale, entitled The Rise. In conclusion, Evo is a very fine album. The tunes are good, if a little uniform, while the songs are absolutely magnificent.Will Wilkins
Released 11th June 2018 on Tyree Records
1. The Exorcists
2. At the End of the Line
3. Live Forever
4. Mile High
5. Hold On
6. Trip to Modera
7. Take My Hand
9. Waiting on the Sun
10. Soraidh Slàn
11. The Rise