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What Kevin Heard: Breabach "interweave archaic and contemporary elements to excellent effect"

Music reviewer Kevin Bryan looks at records from time gone by, including Astar by Breabach, Starlight Highway by Corinne West and Please To See The King by Steeleye Span

Breabach "interweave archaic and contemporary elements to excellent effect"(Image: Archie MacFarlane)

Fancy picking up a new album to enjoy this week, but not sure what to go for?

Here's music reviewer Kevin Bryan's low-down on another selection of albums from years gone by:

Corinne West, Starlight Highway (Make Records)

The gentle and often unjustly maligned art of the singer-songwriter is seemingly alive and well and quietly flourishing across the pond in the U.S. of A. on the evidence provided by fine albums such as Corinne West's "Starlight Highway."

Corinne has lived the life of an itinerant acoustic troubadour since turning her back on home and school at the tender age of fifteen, gathering the experiences which inform her subtly memorable creations as she's aided and abetted in her efforts here by sympathetic sidemen such as Kelly Joe Phelps and one-time Beach Boys drummer Ricky Fataar.

"Monday's Song" and "Trouble No More" are the best of a captivating bunch.

Breabach, Astar (Breabach Records)

The title of Breabach's fifth studio album translates from the Scottish Gaelic for distance or journey, and the globe-trotting Scottish folkies have certainly been accumulating the air miles during the past few years as they've regaled audiences around their world with their distinctive brand of traditionally inspired music.

The award-winning five piece band interweave archaic and contemporary elements to excellent effect as they serve up an affecting new treatment of the great Dick Gaughan's "Outlaws and Dreamers" alongside the eclectic charms of "Muriwai," "Farsund" and "Les Pieds Joyeux."

Magnificat / Cave, Scattered Ashes (Linn Records)

Philip Cave's highly regarded vocal ensemble have chosen to celebrate their 25th anniversary with the release of a splendid two-CD-set exploring the delights of the early Renaissance repertoire.

Signature works by leading lights of the genre such as Josquin des Prez ,Lassus, Byrd and Palestrina are all given an airing in the process, and the 16-strong Magnificat are in typically commanding form throughout.

Steeleye Span, Please To See The King (Talking Elephant)

This classic folk-rock offering was captured for posterity in late 1970 and represented the vinyl debut of Steeleye Span Mark II, which found demon fiddler Peter Knight joining forces with Tim Hart and staunch traditionalists Ashley Hutchings and Martin Carthy to underpin Maddy Prior's distinctive vocal contributions.

The finished product provided a stunning showcase for the band's new, much more electric sound, with "The Blacksmith," "Cold,Haily,Windy Night" and "Lovely on the Water" emerging as three of the musical highlights.

Want to listen to more new music? Check out our weekly Unsigned Friday columns for new talent

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