Does the title of the album refer to breaking a Red Bull habit? Maybe, maybe not, the truth is the trio’s music is delivered with plenty of pep.
Rachel’s trio includes herself on harp, Jenn Butterworth on guitar and vocals and Euan Burton on double bass. They keep it simple, lively and fun, add in guest musicians on a few tracks on tenor saxophone, percussion and accordion and the sound is filled out very nicely indeed
The second track is called Swedish, it’s a catchy tune, from the recently re–published Godtlandstoner collection, and lest we forget a large part of what is now Scotland was for a few hundred years effectively Scandinavian. The musical connections are easily made
The big hey what’s this? moment comes when Jenn Butterworth sings Cyril Tawney’s Grey Funnel Line. You may recall the version by Mary Black. Personally my abiding memory of it is below deck on a barge in the River Humber where Tawney entertained a small crowd with it in 1998. Here, Rachel Hair has taken the song and given it a good shake. Yes the words are melancholic but Jenn Butterworth injects them with a youthful begrudgery. It is bloody mindedness re-phrased in melody, it’ll get the purists talking for ages. The tunes sparkle, the arrangement are crisp and clean and the selections have been carefully thought out, for example. Rachel’s own Home and Happy follows a gorgeous solo slow air from the Captain Simon Fraser Collection.
The Breton selection Fest Nos No 17 is emphatic and hypnotic in turns, the harp running a melody over percussive guitar chops until the accordion swings in to add some fluidity like melted butter on a morning croissant.
I’ll let you into a secret. The title is about the harp itself, all explained on track one. Often stereotyped as an angelic instrument, Rachel adds some devilment to the detail and her robust playing will make you reconsider its roll as backing to the choir invisible. The tune has phrases that remind me of the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood and yes there is a chorus of voices humming in the background, but angelic it isn’t.
Seán Laffey, The Irish Music Magazine