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REVIEW: Culann // Songs of Saints and Reivers

It has been a couple of years since Culann bestowed some new music upon our ears and it has totally been worth the wait. ‘Songs of Saints & Reivers’ is the four track EP that follows up from their 2019 full length release, ‘The Great Ecumene”.

Other bands, take note! If you are reintroducing yourself, this is how it is done.

One of the things that always stands out to me about Culann, especially on a recording is just how clean everything always sounds. When I think of local bands that are not playing and recording full time is that they can often sound a little messy and muddled but Culann is just so crisp and clear. They have a huge sound that could easily become bogged down in production but Culann’s work, particularly on this EP is just astounding.

In the opening track, ‘Rovers’, singer, and guitarist PJ Kelly belts out, “It’s springtime in the harbour”, and if you are from North Ayrshire, I bet a cold and breezy Irvine harbour popped into your mind. This song is a six minute plus track that is performed so masterfully and is such an incredible opener. The musicianship on this whole EP truly shows Culann at their finest. The band consists of PJ, his brother Sean Kelly on drums, Greg Irish on guitar, Calum Davis, and Ross McCluskie on keys. There are bands that have been together decades that haven’t quite mastered how to play as solid as these guys have.

Culann are always able to effortlessly combine Scottish folk and melodic rock with lyrics that always seem to tell a story just perfectly.

We have previously posted about their track, “City Eternal”, on the site, which was accompanied by this stunning video. Again, this just adds to the overall professionalism of a ‘local band’ and gives that name whole new meaning.

One of the things that really surprised me with this EP was how much heavier it was! I really expected it to be more towards the Scottish Folk end of the spectrum, although it does still have elements of that, particularly in the beautiful fiddle infused closing track, ‘Heart of the Sea’. The full-blown guitar riffs and pretty ferocious drums really drive the first three tracks and it is done so effortlessly. The change up in tempo to close the EP is stunning, with a soft acoustic approach, powerful heartfelt vocals and Ross’ keys playing beautifully throughout.

Hopefully it will not be another long wait for more new music from the Ayrshire band but you know it’s going to be nothing short of perfect when it is released. Like I said earlier, it is just such a clean and well-made EP that truly shows the band’s talents.

Make sure you check it out over on your listening platform of choice!


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