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Paul Davenport of EDS

reviews Scatter Pipes by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Nice. The exact meaning of this particular word is, precise or accurate. Both words fit this album. The playing is studied and masterly with technical ability in abundance especially in the hands of Vicki Swan whose smallpipes and flute playing are clearly top drawer as we say round here. Nor should I fail to mention the solid guitar work of Jonny Dyer. Altogether a workmanlike job.
So why does the album fail to excite me? There are two main reasons. Firstly the very precision of the playing gives an impression of musicians sitting very comfortably within their limits. The second reason is a little more personal. The songs are traditional yet have been given a rather dated slightly jazzy treatment which causes me to recall early incarnations of Pentangle. Not a bad comparison but not really cutting edge 2005. The songs bring no new observations on content and seem to be vehicles for the singer rather than the other way around. If this sounds unnecessarily harsh then one should remember that the choice of material and genre lie with the artist. Comparisons will be made and so Vicki and Jonny should really move a little closer to the edge of their comfort zone.
All this being said, the album is soothing and makes few demands on the listener. It is quality of its kind and could find a place as background rather than full on serious listening. In a word, nice.