Northern Sky ****

With its many collaborations, the word “supergroup” has become a mainstay of the contemporary folk scene. However, the word takes on a whole new suitability when applied to Glasgow-based combo Ímar. Consisting of current and former members of such renowned outfits as Mabon, Talisk, Mànran, RURA, Barrule, Cara, Mec Lir and The Lowground, it should come as no surprise that Ímar’s first album Afterlight was a work of breathtaking beauty. Now, only a year later, this agile band returns with Avalanche, another imposing selection of instrumental ear-pleasers.

Opening with the sprightly Deep Blue, Avalanche starts as it means to go on and, via such galloping tunes as Rambling, The Third Attempt and the stunning Trip to Novi Sad, we’re treated to some bold and furious fiddle lines courtesy of Tomás Callister, the wonderfully restless concertina of Mohsen Amini and shimmering bouzouki strokes from Adam Rhodes. Along with Ryan Murphy’s blustery flute and the constant heartbeat of Adam Brown’s bodhrán, Avalanche ploughs through the speakers with powerful majesty. When it comes to second albums, you simply can’t ask for more.

Liam Wilkinson