Martyn Harvey on Binary

Albireo are a 5 piece band renowned in the North West for their excellent playing for ceilidhs. Their first offering, Northern Cross, gave a good hint of their musical potential. Binary sees the complete exposure of their full musical prowess.

Ceilidh bands have progressed hugely over the years. They now deliver music that’s fundamentally brilliant to dance to but coupled with seamless layering in an aural delight. Albireo are right up there with this development.

There are 23 tracks. CD1 is for listening to though thankfully some of the tracks are perfect dance length as well. Dance clubs that don’t have live music are going to love this offering especially as there are a few rare gems that I can’t wait to use on some unsuspecting dancers!

CD 1

Track 1 takes an exhilarating journey with Nonesuch the well known Playford tune. 3 instruments lead you in and it blossoms further with the addition of a fourth and finally the fifth. Not content with that some instruments proceed to drop out but are replaced with another. You’d be excused if you thought that there were 10 musicians. This is an exciting delivery of striking musicianship.

Track 5 is Levi Jackson Rag. It has a sublime jazz feel, a lift that Otis would be proud of and I was relieved that you get it the 5 times through that you would want for the Pat Shaw dance. I’ll certainly use it a lot at dance clubs.

Track 9 is a total delight. Moll Pateley is not particularly well known. Usually danced in a stately fashion this gem from the Dancing Master is delivered with albireo’s ‘Zesty Playford’ hat on. Up tempo and with a real swing it is a challenge on the timing for dancers but once you’re into the rhythm it flows with style and you certainly have the opportunity to strut your stuff.

CD 2

Track 1 Rusty Gully/Bob and Joan. Features each musician showcasing their expertise and when the band reach the second title the subtle influence of ‘The Animals’ is unmistakeable but subtle and great fun.

Track 7 Hole In The Wall/Hole In The Roof. The film ‘Becoming Jane’ had a ball at Lady Gresham’s. James McAvoy & Anne Hathaway though dancing with other partners fell under the spell of this music, the dance and each other. The film score is superb and it’s taken me this long to find a version that does the dance full credit. Thank you Albireo you’ve played this with feeling, verve and great joy.

Track 12 Maiden Lane demonstrates clearly the feel the band has for style, spot on tempo and interesting arrangements and yet clearly they still manage to enjoy themselves.

A sense of fun, each person introduces little sparks of interest and variations in their style.
Albireo — this CD is a tour de force. I‘m happy to recommend it to all lovers of fine music and especially those who dance with spring, good timing and a big smile on their face.