This third album from The Old Dance School shows the band taking big, confident steps.
Their trademark elements, of lush and widescreen instrumental arrangements, a select mix of traditional and self-penned songs delivered in Robin Beattie's distinctive tenor voice, a penchant for complex time signatures, and frequent moments of sheer harmonic beauty, are all present and correct; but the development from 2010's 'Forecast' is noticeable in the increased confidence of their presentation and the tightness of their playing.
With twin violins, upright bass, guitar, percussion, a very welcome appearence in a young English band of low whistle, and a trumpet player (who's got an effects box and knows how to use it), the band have a wide variety of splendid sounds to draw upon: the Shetland fiddler vibe of the 'Dancing Ledge' set, for example, the absolutely gorgeous trumpet and whistle harmonies underpinning the song 'The North Edge', or the loose loping guitar and trumpet figure of 'Craigie Hill'.
The Old Dance School are not averse to speed and dexterous technical wizardry for its own sake, but stand out from the pack because they offer much more than that - 'Chasing The Light' invites tonal and quality comparisons with John McCusker's big bands (the 'Under One Sky' tour/album for example), or Carlos Nunez's projects, but with a distinctly Anglo-Scottish sensibility.
I've had the album for a few months and it's one I keep returning to; thoroughly recommended.