Named after Poosie Nansie’s – a reputed ‘den of iniquity’ frequented by the esteemed poet Robert Burns – The Poozies formed as an all-female band in 1991 in conscious reaction to a then male dominated folk scene (have things improved!?), and right from the outset they have taken a tangential approach to their music that is proudly continued here.
The current quartet, with founder member Mary Macmaster’s unique electro-harp stylings underpinning a varied repertoire of both traditional and contemporary material, employs Eilidh Shaw’s fiddle, Sarah McFadyen’s banjo, and latest recruit Tia Files’ superbly percussive guitar, in a gloriously seamless blend, enhanced by break-out stomp box rhythms and additional fiddles from Sarah and Tia.
Anyone who has followed the careers of Mary and Eilidh, in particular, will be well aware of their distinctively explorative approach to Celtic music. Mary’s work with percussionist Donald Hay, and Eilidh’s with John Rae’s Celtic Magic Feet (an unusual Jazz/Celtic fusion featuring a pre-Lau Martin Green) being very good examples of their relentless musical inquisitiveness.
However, there’s nothing quite so left-field here, rather a vibrant neo-trad approach that permeates throughout. Mary’s evocative Gaelic vocals on Aileen contrast nicely with vibrant instrumental sets full of Scottish west coast highland influences, complemented by occasional Balkan-sounding strains that seep through and create an intoxicating mix, leading to the poignant harmonies of Easily Led that brings the album to a close.
Poozie fans, old and new, are in for a rare treat when the band tour this strong release live. A knockout Punch, indeed.