In the list that goes out to us reviewers, I believe that this album was classed as "Celtic rock," or some such variation. Well, it's not, really. I'm not sure exactly what category it does fall into though. Sure, there's bagpipes on a couple of tracks, and even a hidden track which actually is a traditional Celtic tune, but that would be it for remotely Celtic content. Which isn't to say that it's not good music -- it is quite good -- but I wouldn't rush out to buy it if what you think of as Celtic rock is say, Seven Nations, the Pogues or the Levellers. The music on this album, for the most part, is more of an alternative rock -- along the lines of Pink Floyd, the Cure or even maybe I Mother Earth. I'm not really throwing these names out as comparisons though -- just trying to give a general idea as to the sound of this band.
Druidas is a Spanish band from Mexico. I'm afraid that's where my biographical information ends, though, as I can barely remember enough from my one course in beginning Spanish to say "hello," let alone try to translate the liner notes! I can tell you that Druidas is made up of Patricio (guitars, vocals, bass), Guera (bass guitar, vocals), Chespi (drums, percussion), Hal (percussion, bodhran, rhythm guitar), Fernando (keyboards, piano) and Cesar (whistle, percussion, bagpipes), and they are joined by guest vocalists Nathalie Gras and Margarita Botello for a couple of tracks.
The introductory track is interesting. It is instrumental and provides a good variety of percussion, electric guitars and bagpipes. It has a rock beat with a definite Celtic flavour, good instrumental harmonies and an energetic rhythm. There are two other tracks on the album which seem to have a Celtic influence. "Rito" has some well-played electric guitar melodies, good vocal harmonies and a catchy tune, and the whistle makes a good match with the electric guitar. "Finn" features some a good melody on the pipes with background electric guitar. The hidden track is a traditional pipe tune (the title escapes me), with the pipes again joined by electric guitars and drums. I liked the harmonies, and the general arrangement with this one -- I only wished it was longer. As my favorite track, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't "official."
Now, as for the rest of the album ... I like it, in moderation, but can't really pick out too many specifics since it's not what I normally listen to. Most of the tracks are quite energetic. The vocals are good, and harmonies -- vocal and instrumental -- are pleasing to the ear. Most tracks feature electric and rhythm guitars, bass and vocals. "Duendes" has a good beat to it and is a catchy tune, and boasts excellent harmonies with the guitars. "ACB," which features Gaelic lyrics, has a good tune, steady beat and guitar riffs that intertwine and capture and hold my interest.
"Piel de Foca" has minimal vocals and a lot of varied guitar bits added to strong keyboards and good rhythm. The only song I don't like is "Uruk." Although I do like the percussion, the vocals sound more like shouting than anything else. Or maybe I'm just getting old!
Throughout the album, I find the instrumental arrangements to be excellent. The music flows well, and there are a lot of intricate undertones with the guitars. Energy levels soar, and the vocals are strong and emotive. Instruments blend together well to provide a polished sounding product. So, although I wouldn't recommend the album to a fan of Celtic folk music, a fan of alternative-style rock would likely find it enjoyable, and perhaps even develop an appreciation for bagpipes!
[ by Cheryl Turner ]