The Modest Revolution by Enter the Haggis is courting mainstream listeners. The songs are all catchy with pop hooks and definitive Celtic sound. The style has always been part of the band’s emblem since they formed in 1996. The songs stick like bread and maple syrup. And I mean stick immediately after hearing the first track Year of the Rat. Strings and uilleann pipes hug the chorus- verse -chorus structure. It is a tune that is also radio friendly.
I mentioned about maple syrup hinting that they are from Canada. Yes a nation that has contributed amazing acts in all genres all over the world including Celtic music. Now we move to the second track Can’t Trust the News. Yes who does these days? Everything seems to be filled with agenda. This song has a chorus that’s really easy to remember and also great to sing.
“trust your eyes
they will follow the light
it’s a new tragic story
trust your heart
it will swallow the dark
it’s a mecca of heartache and doom
you can’t trust the news.”
You bet I am singing along to this part raising my voice the way lead singer Brian Buchanan does. Craig Downie knows how to make a listener smile with his trumpet playing. There are lots of great arrangements all over The Modest Revolution.
Down the Line is straight ahead alternative rock with hints of ska and blues. I like that part that starts at 2:50, where the drums create these beats of anticipation amidst the teasing bass lines of Mark Abraham, only to explode in a harmonica driven instrumental riffs around 2:56. I encourage you to check that part out and tell me if I am wrong. These guys know how to start the fire!
Scarecrow is upbeat with a touch of cajun, bluegrass and even melodic style reminiscent of American band Gin Blossoms.
“if you fall
fall with grace
don’t let ‘em see the fear upon your face
if you break
break the reins
it’s better up in lights than down in flames.” Yes another great singalong chorus that never fails to please listeners across genres.
Balto has that Celtic fiddling that will temp you to do step dancing. Trevor Lewington gets listeners on their feet. This is also made solid by Bruce McCarthy’s drumming. After the adrenaline rush of the previous tracks, we are greeted by the gentler Letters.
your love is a compass rose
steadfast through this sand and stone
wind, carry these letters home to Joan
old memories come to life
a last dance in this amber light
wind, carry these letters home tonight
By this time one can notice the beautiful lyricism that wraps around Enter the Haggis. The guitar riffs are contained during the verse part which sets the mood for the song. Instrumental bonanza near the end part of this track along with the rolling drums that make up an ecstatic listening experience. Pardon is another alternative rock driven track. It is an ok song for me. But Hindsight pulls my interest due to its unique arrangement. It almost sounds like a hymn.
Footnote is groovy with a pop rock kind of vibe. Copper Leaves in a little bit country.The kind of track you would be glad to play in your car when you are driving long distance. Blackout dips into a relaxing mood in the first verse only to build up into an emotional release in the chorus part.
Up in Lights closes the album with a spiritual vibe. I think it is a perfect placement of the track. kind of serenade after the energetic arena rock vibe of the entire album. Yes this is Celtic rock with a top 40 appeal. This is likely to be embraced by old and new listeners…even those who are not familiar with the genre. Actually it sounds hip. Very urban, sophisticated and can fit anywhere. But the Celtic vibe is definitely there. The band just made sure that part is accessible to all.
Mark Abraham: bass guitar, vocals
Brian Buchanan: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, accordion, fiddle, banjo
Craig Downie: trumpet, flugelhorn, bagpipes, whistle, glockenspiel, harmonica, vocals
Trevor Lewington: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, octave mandolin, B3, Farfisa
Bruce McCarthy: drums, percussion, vocals
Guest vocalists: The Adam Ezra Group, Erin “Izzy” Griffin, Catherine Wiegand, Kelly Elvin, Claire Rayton
Uilleann Pipes on “Year of the Rat”: Tyler Duncan
Additional Piano and B3: Joel Goodwin
Additional Percussion: Tim Price, Dave Wallace
Meaty claps and thunderous stomps: Matt Elvin, Kelly Elvin, Ellen Griffin, Erin “Izzy” Griffin, Dave Wallace, Catherine Wiegand, Claire Rayton, Patty Volpi
Cello: Michael Olsen
All music and lyrics copyright Enter The Haggis, 2012 (SOCAN/ASCAP.)
All arrangements by Enter The Haggis. Published by Firebrand Entertainment Inc.
Recorded at Saint Claire Recording Company in Lexington, KY – October, 2012.
Produced, engineered and mixed by Zach McNees
Assistant Engineers: Tim Price and Cailon Williams
Mastered by Leon Zervos at Studios 301 in Sydney, Australia
Photography by Rosco Weber
Album art and packaging design by Brian Buchanan