On the band's debut album, you can hear Capercaillie
mapping out what would become its signature sound -- a musical style built on a deep foundation of Celtic tradition but incorporating modern technology and dance-oriented rhythms. It's a fusion that makes purist folkies cringe, but Capercaillie
has achieved significant success with it. Crosswinds
is more traditional than the band's later efforts; although synthesized keyboards and distinctly non-Celtic percussion are used throughout, the album is dominated by sets of traditional dance tunes and songs like "My Lagan Love." If there's a complaint to be made at all, it's that the lustrous voice of Karen Matheson
is too rarely placed front and center. She opens the album with a lovely piece of puirt a beul (a rhythmic singing style used in Scotland to accompany dancing), and practically steals the show with her rendition of the gorgeous "Soraidh Bhuam Gu Barraidh." The instrumentals are also excellent, but not quite as distinctive as her singing -- strangely, the funk basslines that play such an important part in Capercaillie
's musical strategy are kept far back in the mix.