Broon – Cosmic Ceilidh: Album Review

A mandolin, electric and acoustic guitar instrumental work by Broon. Bizarrely, Cosmic Ceilidh is also one for the Rush fans to investigate.

Release date: Available now

Label: Self released. SBE CD20

Format: CD / DL / stream

Broon is Steve Brown. Readers of the Sunday Post will know The Broons – no relation. Rush fans will also know producer Terry Brown – aka Broon – and even Alex Lifeson’s Broon’s Bane acoustic showcase. Disparate elements but it all connects surprisingly easily.

So, multi-instrumentalist Steve Brown presents his debut album as an aside from his day job with a little help from some friends. One of who is Rush drummer Neil Peart via the wonders of modern production techniques. Did we mention his studio is Rivendell? We won’t go into the details… Suffice to say as a huge Rush fan, Steve is the man behind the annual Rush convention so it’s no surprise that there are going to be many obvious and equally many less obvious references to the holy triumvirate.

It’s all very diverse with world music, Celtic fusion and ‘Acid/Prog croft’ styles all colliding in a genuinely pleasurable experience. Solo acoustic guitar along with full band workouts led by mandolin and electric guitar. There are recurring musical themes and a seemingly deliberate Rush-ified bagful of clues thrown in for us fans.

Just for starters, the three-part Hope (as opposed to Fear) trilogy (the steel-string acoustic on Part I bringing to mind Jimmy Page’s Bron Yr Aur solo piece on Zeps’ Physical Graffiti) and reference to Heart And Mind (united in a single perfect sphere and aptly written for a friend’s wedding. Broon’s Bairns (ho ho – not so much of the banes…) features a light dusting of cornet by visiting New Zealander Pete Harbridge.

Another ‘wedding’ tune is The Devil Came down To Glenuig. Although sounding more like it should be a barn dance, it holds parts reminiscent of A Farewell To Kings. It is actually a right barnstormer with the electric guitar well and truly plugged in and despite the Neil Peart drum loops on this track, there’s not a hint (to these ears) of anything derivative.

The general air is light hearted and playful although Hash Browns rocks like a hurricane with some funky and dirty lead lines thrown in . Have to say that it’s perhaps the closest nod to Rush in a garage band sort of way. We do finally get a ‘proper’ barndance and chance to swing our pants and our partners on The Great Unmastered. A grand build up with fiddle, whistle, mandolin and flute all taking turns to step into the spotlight. And a grand way to bring the album to a close lest we should forget the delicate solo classical Slante Mhath to which we can raise a glass.

A lovely departure as bright and colourful as the highland beast which graces the cover (no it’s not Steve…)

Get a taste of Broon on Thousand Pound Noodles:

Broon online: Website / Facebook / Bandcamp

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