Mec Lir make a very big sound – quite an achievement for just three Manxmen and a Scot, though a bevy of guests really up the ante, on Livewire, their debut album. Tomas Callister (fiddle), Adam Rhodes (bouzouki), David Kilgallon (keyboards) – all from the Isle of Man – first came together with Greg Barry (drums) in 2014, and they’ve used the lockdown to produce a fabulous collection of instrumentals that take no prisoners.
“perhaps the most energetic album you’ll hear this year”It starts at full tilt with a set of reels, ‘Repeal The Union’, which set the tone for what follows. Callister’s irrepressible fiddle is driven along by Barry’s percussive groove, Kilgallon’s swirling keyboard and Brown’s frenetic bouzouki, while guests add button accordion, electric guitar, banjo, uilleann pipes and bodhran to make certain you’re on your feet. Not all guests appear on every track, but the pace remains largely relentless, with many of the fine tunes written by Callister.
A march leads into a fabulous schottische written by piper Calum Stewart, an uplifting anthem and a personal favourite. The most restrained track has a snatch of spoken Manx Gaelic followed by a slow air on fiddle, along with piano and synth, a lovely oasis of calm in what is perhaps the most energetic album you’ll hear this year.