Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
The world is always teetering on the edge of a collapse, governed by a set of rules in which nobody truly understands or has the time to digest beyond their own growing sense of anger and insecurity; the rules always say that that the rare should be a commodity worth waiting a life time for, that While Rome Burns, fiddle and play on Nyckelharpa as much as possible, for Time might never allow you a glimpse of something impressive again.
The kitchen table always has something to offer the world, whether it is the resolution of antagonism, the breaking of bread over sorrow or just finding out with a smile that the chemistry you felt as you looked into another person’s eyes was one in which beautiful sweet music could be made.
The table being the starting point of such enlightening moments, is soon moved to the idea that the song can go beyond that, that it may rule the heart as it plucks at the beloved and at the rare and in the case of Scottish based Bellevue Rendeezvous’ trio of artists, Cameron Robson, Gavin Marwick and Ruth Morris, the rare stands out as fascinating and alluring, the complexity of adding the exceptional but uncommon instrument of the Nyckelharpa to the proceedings, makes Rome burn even brighter compared to Nero’s fiddle.
So simple, so stylish, While Rome Burns is the fantastic follow up to the trio’s previous albums, Tangents and Salamander. The album is an exotic creature, displaying the finery of the fiddle, the guitar and the cittern but also taking the virtuosity of the Swedish Nyckelharpa to a scale which captivates the whole proceedings, giving a sense of unrestrained ingenious craft to the overall effect and instrumental story at hand.
In tracks such as the opener Smoke and Mirrors/Mozaik, Hvit Marsj, Piping the Fish/Source of the Spey/The Unicorn and the superb Dream Waltz/Fields of Love, While Rome Burns takes the listener on a journey far beyond their native understanding and gives them a land in which the fire rages like a dragon’s anger, in which the fiddle and Nyckelharpa reign with bountiful confidence and clarity.
A wonderful third album by the trio that make up Bellevue Rendeezvous, a piece of sublime instrumental history.
Bellevue Rendeezvous’ While Rome Burns is released on June 1st.
Ian D. Hall