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THE BARR BROTHERS, CELTIC CONNECTIONS, SAINT LUKE’S, GLASGOW, JANUARY 28, 2018.

The Queens Of The Breakers is the title track of The Barr Brothers latest release – and when it emerged here this Celtic Connections’ gig truly bumped into life.

It’s a flowing, chiming, rocky track and raised the temperature significantly. That’s not to say the opening songs were dull, far from it – they proved to be muscled, unhurried, sensitive, lush and warming with no shortage of good musicianship with the excellent Andrew Barr on drums/percussion mixing the rhythms inventively and with gusto.

But upping the tempo with Queens Of The Breakers came just at the right time, replacing the more subdued music that had gone before. That said, it was when front man, Brad stripped things way, way down and gathered the gang around a single mic draped with fairy lights that the show’s highlight section got under way. It was gorgeous.

What a track, Song That I Heard, is. With shimmering acoustic guitar and breathtaking harmonies that hushed the room it was stunning, as good as anything we might hear at this festival.

“In the cult of desperation he stayed just behind the curve / And no one here admits we’re getting more than we deserve,” they sang, and The Low Anthem, inevitably, popped into my head because of the earthy, alt/folk tones. But the Montreal-based band’s own glowing closeness deserves the highest praise.

They have joked that Queens Of The Breakers was made “using only pencil shavings and squirrel tails” but, seriously, they are truly creative with a song mix – from stompers to the fragile – that is generally appealing and at times downright exquisite.

Review by MIKE RITCHIE