with moira smiley


Release Date: Sept. 16th, 2008
(available at CD Baby)

By Brooke Alberts

mollys revenge

With the name, Molly's Revenge you might be fooled into lumping this band in with the likes of Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys - dishing out aggressive bar anthems and such- and you would be far from accurate. The revenge to which they refer in their cryptic name is what I tend to think of as "traddiction", or an inability to be temperate with one's desire to play Just One More Set of Tunes Before Going Home. Stu Mason (guitar, vocals, mandola) lays this out in poetic and graphic form on their website, so go have a peek , if you wish...but I digress...this band plays traditional Irish and Scottish tunes along with recently composed numbers that fit well into the traditions in question. With their most recent CD The Western Shore they reveal how much they have matured as a group, and the injection of Moira Smiley on vocals is just what they needed.

Do you like Solas? Old Blind Dogs? Then this is more your style of instrumentation and arrangements. The line-up consists of  David Brewer on highland and uilleann pipes, whistles, bodhran and bones, John Weed on fiddle, Pete Howarth on bouzouki and vocals, the aforementioned Stu Mason, and special guests Moira Smiley (VOCO) on vocals and accordion, Fraser Stone (Old Blind Dogs) on percussion and John Doyle (ex Solas) on mandola, some arranging, and production.

The arrangements are lovely, full-bodied and well-conceived.  They use driving syncopation, dovetailing leads, and flying meter changes all to beautiful advantage. They have made some gorgeous repertoire choices, drawing from as diverse sources as traditional tunes John picked up in Donegal (their Northern Shore  set and Miss McGuinness, which is a great find), Stu Mason's inventive The Long Drive  and the compositions of Liz Carroll and Old Blind Dog alumnus Rory Campbell.   They open and close with The Western Shore and 11th Street, truly choice tunes  by the talented and energetic David Brewer. The clear and sprightly vocals of the multitalented artist Moira Smiley (whose solo CD Rua I recommend highly) are a mutually beneficial addition, and I only wish she'd had one more song on the album.

Brooke Alberts is a songwriter and has a Masters degree in Medieval Studies.