Gnoss – a quartet of insanely gifted Scots youngsters whose second album lulls and ignites.
Release date: 7th May 2021
Label: Blackfly Records
Format: CD / DL
Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire might have played its part in honing the skills of Aidan Moodie, Graham Rorie, Connor Sinclair and Craig Baxter, but a grounding in folk music makes sure the fearsome foursome have a repertoire that guarantees a unique sound. All said, The Light Of The Moon sees the band unveil eleven original tracks weighted towards some impressive tunes.
As has been already observed elsewhere, the lineup of fiddle, flute, guitar and bodhran (plus bass from Breabach’s James Lindsay – already a name on our radar with his excellent Torus album) might suggest they are fully equipped to set festivals and folk clubs alight with pounding Celtic tunes. But there’s more to Gnoss than playing the sort of high octane music that gets an audience on its feet.
For a hit of the latter, flick the CD scanner to track three, Good Crieff and admire the band’s triumph over adversity of the necessity of remote recording from isolation. You’d never guess that these guys weren’t even in the same room such is the synergy and the inescapable bounceability in a tune that kicks like an angry mule. Cut From similar cloth, Tunction (Orcadian for ‘wear and tear’) adds a calmness to a still sprightly flowing fiddle-led tune.
Friends and family are rewarded with several tunes in their honour packed into the album. And yes, it’s the gift that keeps on giving when you have a bespoke tune written for a landmark birthday or celebration. Grandmothers, fathers, uncles and girlfriends are all immortalised in the gentle flow of various sonic love poems. Highlights include the dancing flute on Alister & Katrina’s leading his bedfellows into a slowly building ensemble piece and the lively spirit that the celebration of life that Adelaide’s carries.
Elsewhere, the coming together of the separate elements results in taking the band into what they’ve called “new spaces musically – blending the sonic textures of our instruments,” typified by the dreamy ambience on Sun That Hugs The Ocean. Of the handful of songs, The River stands out with the patter of percussion and easy singer/songwriter vibe that could easily be the work of one of the major names in the annals of singer/songwriter history.
The credits roll with That’s Me where the pastoral vibe soon gives way to a resurgent interplay between fiddle and whistle for a final round of jiggery folkery. Despite the occasional letting down of the hair, The Light Of The Moon conveys an overarching air of tranquility that for some reason, you can only find in Scottish folk music. Perhaps it’s the pathetic fallacy coming through in sounds inspired by the sweeping natural landscapes north of the border. Ultimatley it shows up a certain class that emphasises the emotive and subtle
The phrase ‘bright young folk’ keeps cropping up to describe the ongoing emergence of obscenely talented musicians who, thank the good Lord, turn their attention to folk music rather than the mysterious appeal of TV talent shows. If it ain’t broken, then why fix it? The Light Of the Moon perfectly personifies the tag. Creative Scotland at its foot-tapping, grin-inducing, sun-hugging best. Never mind That’s Me. that’s Gnoss.
Here’s The River: