A better-late-than-never review / Lúnasa: CAS

Somehow I let this slip by last year…
I started this blog early this year and, admitted, was not systematically and obsessively checking out new releases before that. So it seems in those days even a release from a very major band like Lúnasa could sneak behind me without li’l ol’ me noticing anything – as I noticed to my shock and dismay a few days ago.

But hey, that’s why this review segment is called Better-late-than-never! And oh my, rarely does that ”better late” ring truer than now. CAS is, to my ears at least, one of the finest Lúnasa albums so far, demonstrating the versatility and, above all, the sensational ensemble playing of the band. As I’m writing these words I’m giving the album another spin and the multi-layered caleidoscopic swirl of Tinker’s Frolics just gave room to the gentle spring stream flow of Sinead Maire’s – two very different tunes with different heartbeats and characters, so effortlessly performed as a band.

Lúnasa, of course, have a long career behind them by now and the band playing inevitably gets more organic with time, but at this point, they are very hard to beat in this respect. CAS is sheer audio joy in this respect, and very well produced, too.

The tune selection is top notch, inspiring and delightful. The Trad here is fab and the surprise of the album, the old spiritual My Lord What A Morning, turns into a treasure as the low key rendition communicates a universal yearning beyond the scope of any specific religion. Even a battle scarred war horse like Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore survives yet another round. Only the cover of Tim O’Brien’s The Water Is Wise with its Americana feel seems just a wee bit out of place.

But that’s a nano sized, dismissable notion when the album offers gems like The Cadgers, the almost Zen-like serenity of The Irish Girl (feat. Mary Chapin) and the joyful pipes galore of Within a Mile closing the proceedings. Dammit but this is just… so good 🙂

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