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Spire Folk

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Title:Where Many Paths Meet
Review:A wide variety of styles and influences are demonstrated on this album from a great new band from Down Under. If you like the local band Thee Na Shee then you'll also like Malumba. The instrumental talents of Dan Efraemson on violin and flute and Tom Roadknight Dexter on guitars are amply demonstrated on a wide variety of tracks in terms of tempo, style and origin. The album is wholly instrumental. The majority of tracks are self-composed, with a couple of traditional sets also included. The opening "Afro-Jig" is a flute based tune a la Jethro Tull. Elsewhere there are parallels to bands such as Thee Na Shee and Tomorrow's Ancestor, as well as fellow Aussies Men at Work - the latter most obviously on "Tongan Queen" which as the title suggests has a distinctly south Pacific feel. The great instrumental talents of Efraemson and Dexter can be heard to best effect on the traditional sets "Gravel Walk/Tamlin Reel" and "Crabs Set" On the downside the mixing and acoustics of the album leaves something to be desired - at times is sounds as if you are listening with cloth in your ears, at other times in a large empty warehouse. Also the wide variety of percussion used on the album is mostly over-loud drowning out the subtle musical details of some of the tracks. The exception here is on the light-hearted track "Tweet, Tweet", a song based around bird-song where percussion is used to good effect. All in all this is a pretty good debut album which clearly demonstrates the talents of the band, which also features James Sofo on double base and Chris Thwaite on the dreaded percussion. I would certainly recommend getting to see them in Bakewell, Matlock Bath or at other local gigs where I'm sure that they will sound great - free of the studio mixing problems apparent on the CD.

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