Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
The feel of Scotland without stepping over the border, caught as it were between two lands, between two ideologies and yet with a passion that resonates inside one beautiful heart and a single burning desire to deliver upbeat instrumental Folk to an audience that quite rightly never seems to tire of hearing a sound that is voluptuous, absolutely spirited and so cascading that it surges out of the blocks quicker a traffic warden noticing a row of meters are about to expire. This is the world of Newcastle’s Pons Aelius and their offering of Captain Glen’s Comfort.
As the second track on the album stresses, The Way Is Clear to listen to a group that is so in tune with each other that the surge of music that comes across is sheer, a gossamer touch but one with so much electricity flowing through it that it becomes enticing, the sound ranging from Earthy to ethereal in the robustness of a single movement, the heart shakes with excitement because of the anticipation of where the notes will go.
Captain Glen’s Comfort is one of those albums that delivers, perhaps with unexpected pleasure, the ability to organize and orchestrate a range of instruments that on their own sound beautiful enough but when placed together are sublime. With Jordan Akin, Tom Kimber, Bevan Morris, Sam Partridge, Alasdair Paul and Callum Younger offering the listener the full blooded cry of the Great Highland bagpipes and surrounding it with the howling cool of the wolves of mandolin, double bass, concert timber flutes, bouzouki, bodhran and cymbals, this feel of Scotland, this memory of a time when Robert Louis Stevenson took a young Scottish rebel by the literary hand and filled him with the hope of righting a seismic wrong, is almost akin to being sacred, a long distant dream played out in England’s final border.
With tracks such as the aforementioned The Way Is Clear, £75 Fine, Oh My Doughnuts and Lament For John Morrison of Assynt House, the upbeat memory is fine tunes, perfectly matched and exhilaratingly enjoyable; a precious reminder that the line between two states of mind is normally thicker, more porous and more excitingly mixed than some will admit to. It takes bands like Pons Aelius to show it in depth.
Pons Aelius’ Captain Glen’s Comfort is released on September 8th.
Ian D. Hall