Magical rhythms and pulsating beats with accompaniment from a stellar team of musicians. That's 13. Damien Mullane has come of age with a subtlety of approach to his art that leaves you in awe of the simplistic beauty of it all. Into the mix he throws a selection of sets that weave and turn from waltz to polka to slide. There is an inherent cleanness to the album and the inclusion of several waltz, march or polka tracks gives a freshness in approach to structure. It therefore has a different balance breaking as it does from the usual jig and reel dominated approach. It all feels and sounds natural and spontaneous, ornamented to the point of interest but not to where it can sometimes venture into territory that is aurally cluttering.
The driving accompaniment is very much a feature of the album with the balance between overpowering and understated fully understood. Tempo changes are a technique used to heighten the strength and impact of his fellow musicians. For this we have Trevor Hutchinson and Donogh Hennessy leading the charge on bass and guitar. This technique is exemplified to great effect on a marvelous march and reel combination called The Burnham March/Ed Breen's. It's also evident on Emma's Waltz which is paired with Dhá Pholca Dálaigh. Outstanding also is a slow air called Amhrán Na Trá Báinne with some haunting vocals added by Pauline Scanlon.
Damien hits the point where connection with the musician and the music really take hold and he pitches his stall perfectly in this regard. The structure, accompaniment and tune choice set it apart from other accordion albums. He takes some chances, experiments with our preconceived ideas and brings you onto tantalising new ground. Again nothing too significant to break with tradition but enough to set him up as a talent on a different rung of the traditional ladder. This is the difference when it comes to giving any album repeated plays. In two years time when you shuffle through your album collection you will stop at this, slide it from the stack and place it in the player. Its a beautiful album with great accompaniment and rightly deserves to sit in the top ten for some months to come. Some striking close up photography and a great cover and we are into classic territory.