Tempest's previous album, The Gravel Walk, was an exciting and compelling bit of celtic indulgence that even managed to (ahem) get me to dance a time or two. (There, I've said it, and if you say I did, I'll deny it.) Now, a pared-down version of the outfit has brought us Caliban, an interesting and respectable work that somehow lacks much of the charm of its predecessor.
Caliban is comprised solely of Tempest leader Lief Sorbye and fiddler Michael Mullen. While the minimalism of the sound on this disc works at times, at other times it seems to give the opposite effect than what was intended: what was meant to be an intimate encounter with two great traditional musicians instead feels empty in places. Songs like "Beeswing" and "Oh No" could use a bit of Tempest's over-the-top liveliness.
While I cannot wholeheartedly recommend Caliban to the casual listener as I did with The Gravel Walk, it is nonetheless an accomplished study in acoustic arrangement and making the most out of the fewest elements, and certainly will appeal to devotees of celtic music.