Imar, Afterlight (Big Mann)

THE latest product of Glasgow’s thriving traditional music session scene, Imar releases its debut album having already had the distinction of playing its first billed gig as the opening act at last year’s Cambridge Folk Festival. Listening to the standard of the quintet’s playing individually and collectively on this all-instrumental set, the group could easily be headlining such events by now.

There’s a potency to the music here that puts Imar in the tradition of great bands such as the Bothy Band and Lunasa but with a touch of the Isle of Man integrated into the Irish accent that uilleann piper Ryan Murphy (the only actual Irishman involved) and concertinist Mohsen Amini’s musical training brings to the sound.

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With enough awards and championships between its players to warp the strongest mantelpiece the band has pedigree but it’s the way this accomplishment is combined into a group ethic that particularly impresses. The energy that’s seemingly bursting to let loose is tempered by a variety of instrumental formations and an attention to pacing that showcases the tunes’ melodic strength, and even when the floodgates open the effect is all the more exhilarating for the underlying control and musicality.

Rob Adams