The Elders: Racing the Tide

[6 March 2007]

By Jason MacNeil

When people think of Celtic rock, they often think of the Waterboys or the Pogues. The Elders, with lead singer (and Irishman) Ian Bryne at the helm, bring to mind more of the former and far less of the latter. This group evokes the Levellers and Great Big Sea in some respects, especially during “Send a Prayer”, which has several Celtic instruments in it. Meanwhile, “Bad Irish Boy” is Celtic pop, a mid-tempo and radio-friendly ditty that is quite mainstream and safe. The Elders are content to keep things rather light in terms of the barnstorming, hell-raising quotient, especially during “Dear God”, which features fiddles, accordions, and whistles. The lone exception (and even this is a stretch) that revs things up is the chugging “Cousin Charlie”. The group also can churn out a decent ballad-ish piece with the swaying “Right With the World”. One of the highlights is the tight and catchy “Banshee Cry”, which thakfully has no banshees crying. This is quickly followed-up with the delightful Flogging Molly-lite “Gonna Take a Miracle”. And the high-octane momentum and verve continues during the beer-spilling “Story of a Fish”. The second half finds the Elders in a far better mind than the first half—and a faster, catchy and finely tuned mind at that.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/the-elders-racing-the-tide/