Songlines ****

Ímar Avalanche
Big Mann Records (41 mins)
A powerful landslide of a follow-up album

Imar, a quintet who met on Glasgow’s trad music scene, form an alliance of Scottish, Irish and Manx idioms. Their second album arrives not so much an avalanche as another meteorological phenomenon, a hurricane.

They are certainly a force of nature. So much so that it might well be not until the third track, the relatively reflective ‘White Strand’, before any of them actually draws breath. Only relatively reflective, because there’s an energy, as well as superb cohesion between concertina, uilleann pipes, fiddle and bodhrán, that makes the album’s one slow air, an arrangement of the melody best known for carrying the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’, bristle with purpose and expression. Guest electric pianist Donald Shaw’s arrangements for string quartet add lush richness to the fast-lane zip of the opening ‘Deep Blue’ (as well as other tracks) and there’s a particularly marvelous moment when Mohsen Amini’s concertina appears to make a bid for freedom from the frontline charge of ‘Revenge’, before the ensemble eases back into hurtling formation. File under fizzy.

Rob Adams

Track to try: Rambling