When Imar launched a couple of years ago, they made a huge impression with their headlong style of music, rooted in a mix of Scottish, Irish and Manx influences. Their second album, Avalanche, extends this onslaught into ten new tune sets, most of them composed by the band.
From the start, it rattles along with Mohsen Amini’s concertina, Tomas Callister’s fiddle and Ryan Murphy’s flute (or pipes) leading the fray, and a powerful engine room provided by Adam Rhodes’s driving bouzouki and Adam Brown’s frenetic bodhran and occasional guitar. Donald Shaw guests on electric piano and also arranged unobtrusive accompaniments by a string quartet.
Occasionally they take the foot off the accelerator and move into something more measured, as on the gorgeous ‘Afar’, but they’re at their best when they crank it up to top gear. On the set ‘Revenge’ they give a masterclass in how to build a track from a leisurely start to a frantic climax. Very different is the beautiful Irish traditional air ‘Slane’, aka ‘Banks Of The Bann’, with fiddle, concertina and pipes given immaculate support from a gentle bouzouki and guitar.
The melodies are strong, the musicianship superb and the abundance of energy sets up a most uplifting experience.