Album Review: The Buachaills’ At Your Call

At Your Call Cover 1400x1400It’s a St. Patrick’s Day miracle: A second album of Celtic music for your enjoyment! It certainly was for mine.

This week we’re looking at the debut release from the Celtic folk/rock band The Buachaills (pronounced bo’-quels, approximately). Their debut single is due out tomorrow, with the rest of the album due out in May. You can pre-order it on Amazon, and probably a few other places.

The album is called At Your Call, and is an enjoyable collection of Irish influenced music. If the High Kings’ album we looked at last week was a little light on the Celtic influences for your tastes, this one should be right up your alley. Still using the electric bass (James Fleming) and drum set (Chris Carey), The Buachaills also have Eoin Murphy on guitar and mandolin and Aaron Dolan on whistles and Uillean pipes. Carey, Dolan, and Murphy all take turns on the vocals.

The album starts with a short instrumental introduction, beginning with Dolan’s pipes and immediately moving into a lively reel. This is followed by the title track “At Your Call” which is catchy alternative rock style with a solid Irish feel to the accompaniment.

Next is the song that is to be tomorrow’s debut single, a cover of Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”. The famous sax solo is replaced very capably with Dolan’s pipes. It works much better than you might imagine. Following this is “You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time”. This is a lively Irish reel style pop song. It’s an infectious tune with a strong hook.

Next is the instrumental “King of the Fairies”. It starts slowly and mournfully, and then moves into a nice minor key jig that highlights Dolan’s pipes and a fine, restrained drum performance by Carey. Next up is the obligatory sea-faring song, “Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore”. It tells the story of a man leaving his true love, his land, for America.

Next is a rowdy sea shanty about a trip around Cape Horn and bound for “South Australia”. Then it’s “Will Ye Go Lassie Go”, a love song for a girl and the green mountains of Ireland as summer approaches.

The instrumental “Lovers of Light” is next, again showcasing Dolan’s command of his instrument. We are then presented with “A Pair of Brown Eyes”, which presents the mixed feelings of having two people with an identical physical feature, one which you love and one which you hate.

“Frozen River” is the next track. It metaphorically tackles the difficult of moving from difficult times to better ones. Taken with “A Pair of Brown Eyes”, these two songs seem to deal with duality of existence.

Finally, an extended reprise of the introduction is presented as “Little Creatures”. This is an instrumental piece with an extended spoken word passage in the middle: poet James Stephens’ poem “Little Things”.

Altogether, this is a promising and inventive album by a new quartet. At a time when many contemporary Celtic acts seem to identify more with U2 than the Chieftans, the Buachaills hold to tradition very strongly. Even with the non-traditional presence of the electric bass and the drum set, it’s immediately recognizable as not just Irish, but very Irish.

The only fault I have with this album is that occasionally the production quality suffers a bit. Not often, but sometimes the mix seems a bit off.

Get this album, and sign up on at least one of the many online opportunities to keep up with these guys. You won’t be sorry.

On a scale of 1-10:
Art rating: 9
Entertainment rating :9½

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Pre-order album from Amazon. Or get the single “Baker Street” on Monday, 3/17/14.