is a Scottish band steeped in the folk tradition but unafraid of synthesizers, drums and dance beats. Try to imagine the Afro-Scottish fusion of Mouth Music
crossed with the new age leanings of Clannad
, and you'll have a good idea of what to expect -- lush, pretty settings of stark Celtic melodies with English and Scots Gaelic lyrics delivered by an athletic but restrained female singer. It's a winning combination, and there's hardly a misstep on this fine album. Sure, the evil landowner figure in "Four Stone Walls" is drawn a bit broadly, and the lyrics to "Grace and Pride" are a bit maudlin (what does it mean for honesty to "flow by one's side"?) but these minor flaws are more than compensated for by such stirring moments as "Seice Ruairidh" and "Hi Rim Bo," two pieces of traditional puirt-a-beuil ("mouth music") which were never meant to be accompanied at all but which benefit greatly from the bouncy synth-funk treatment they get here. And "Crime of Passion" is a heart-rendingly lovely ballad which avoids the sappy pitfalls of "Grace and Pride." Singer Karen Matheson
has a wonderful voice that will remind Celtic pop fans of Mary Black
; the rest of the band do a fine job blending traditional instruments with electronic ones to bring out the best qualities of both.