Bensider


Label: Creek Music
Album: Blue Star Line
Tracks : 10
Website: Bensider


 

 

Blue Star Line is the second album from Bensider following on from the excellent Live at Kyoti. It follows the same recording style with all the tracks recorded as live in the studio and some additional backing added later. Singer /songwriter Graham MacIver and band members Roy Hunter, Mike Munro and Seth Gardener have come up with another admirable CD.  Additional backing is by Jim McDermott on percussion, Tim Davidson (pedal steel), Feargus Heatherington (violin) and Molly MacIver on backing vocals. The songs are all well-written and the production by Mark Freegard is unobtrusive and effective.

The album kicks off with Alexandra Rose and the familiar vibe is there from the start. Guitar, percussion and trumpet drive the song along with a swing.

Bang Bang is an upbeat song recalling memories of Graham’s father, Calum, and it has a real feel-good swing. The track bounces along, carried by some excellent fiddle and fine trumpet solo and has a lyric that brings the past to life.

City of Tears tells of nights in a hotel while travelling to and from the rigs. It manages to be stark and strangely uplifting at the same time. The fine songs continue and show the undoubted skill of Graham MacIver’s writing.

My Island Home is a song that evokes lots of memories to me as I recall my island life. Graham has the knack of conjuring images from days gone by with just a phrase and you suddenly find yourself back amongst the machair along the seashore.

The title track is about the shipping line Calum worked on in the 50’s and 60’s. It is beautifully written and conveys the emotions and memories of a young boy and how his father shaped his life. The exquisite backing vocals on the chorus, the mournful pedal steel and the simplicity of the production make for an absolute diamond of a track.

The music of Bensider is hard to pigeon-hole. It’s folk with a touch of swing, a hint of jazz and a sprinkle of pop. Whatever it is, the main thing is, it works and it works well. The ten songs on this album continue the progression of the band as they go from strength to strength.  With the mythical “difficult second album” expertly negotiated, the future for Bensider is very bright indeed.

 

Hughie McNeill