The Scottish, Irish and Isle Of Man collective that is Imar return with their first album in five years. Imar’s line-up is Mohsen Amini (concertina), Adam Brown (bodhrán, guitar), Tomás Callister (fiddle), Ryan Murphy (flute, uilleann pipes, whistle) and Adam Rhodes (bouzouki).
The album cover grabs the attention, featuring artwork by Bruno Cavellec depicting the Norse Gael king Imar, who the band are named after.
Starting an album of with ‘Bangers’ the listener is tapping their feet away from the off. Three tunes penned by the band (including two paying tributes to pubs in Glasgow!) sees them create a whirlwind of music. The uilleann pipes playing of Ryan Murphy takes centre stage on ‘Eoghainn’s’, whilst ‘The Stinger’ starts off with a traditional Irish reel (‘Paddy Kelly’s’) morphing into a couple of lively band penned tunes.
Tomás Callister’s fiddle playing leads the way on the reflective tone of ‘Imagine a World’, whilst ‘The Tree of Life’ brings the album to a fine conclusion, as all of the band get a chance to highlight their musical chops.
Instrumental albums should allow the listener able to go on a musical and imaginative journey, something this album does with ease.
Imar play music with a passion and frenzy that is a delight to listen to. No real surprise at the amount of awards and accolades this five piece have, and continue to, rack up. Music that keeps the folk tradition alive adding in their own compositions which could well become that folk staple ‘Trad. Arr.’ in years to come… ****
Review by Jason Ritchie