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Tempest: Thirty Little Turns

Thriving across thirty years is an achievement for any band and for folk/Gaelic rockers Tempest it is no different, their Thirty Little Turns album neatly underplaying the scale of accomplishment of surviving three decades. To be fair Tempest do like an anniversary, albums already released by this band celebrating ten and fifteen years of existence, so it's only right that they also highlight the big three-O and they do so in fine style.

Tagging a band Gaelic or folk rock suggests some gentle meander where the fiddle cries a lament as fingers are pressed in the ear. However, Tempest also draw influences from across the world – their founder members Lief Sorbye (vocals and electric mandolin) and Adolfo Lazo (drums) being born in Norway and Cuba respectfully, their number now completed by North California's Ab Menon (guitar), San Francisco's Kathy Buys (fiddle) and the North Bay Area's Josh Fossgreen (bass – and with a name like that could he be in anything other than a folk outfit??). The latter three are all reasonably recent recruits in a band whose line-up reshuffles have been many and often – the bassist position in particular veering dangerously close to the magnitude of Spinal Tap's drumming difficulties… With Fossgreen they have hit the jackpot, solid but roaming bottom end underpinning what is an energetic and enthusiastic early hit in the shape of "Troldans" (sung in Norwegian and celebrating the Summer Solstice) and "Lahard Chase", where it's Buys' fiddle that reels and swirls with delight.

Brining to mind the eclectic musings of Glyn Bailey in the vocals, there's a deep confidence possessed within this album that engages from the off, even if the attack is much more rooted in past sounds from Scotland or Ireland. With Lazo locking in tight with his 'bass brother', the rhythms prove one of the real strong points, but then the fiery guitar work from Menon quickly turns the spotlight his way and he doesn't waste a second of it. This guy is a real talent and while this may not necessarily feel like the most natural setting for an axe-slinger of his ability, he certainly stops any potential slide into safety that a vintage act playing vintage inspired music might find unwittingly difficult to avoid.

All that said, the real standout is "Madeline Jones", a song where this lady's name is oft repeated in celebration and you can't help but join in as the refrain proves just too contagious to resist… Long after this album has stopped playing you'll still be singing Madeline's praises.

Folk rock and especially that with a Gaelic lilt won't be for everyone, but Tempest add some international flavours and some extra spice of their own. If that sort of things sounds like fun, you'll be knee deep in delight as the mood remains resolutely upbeat and celebratory – just as should be the case for any anniversary party.

Track Listing
1. Johnny Cope
2. Thirty Little Birds
3. Battle Of Aughrim
4. Trolldans
5. Norwegian Wood
6. Lahard Chase
7. A Toast
8. High Germany
9. Madeline Jones
10. Swarb

Added: March 10th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tempest on bandcamp
Hits: 2226
Language: english

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