The Chieftains have done a remarkable job over the years of convincing the mainstream public - ie. those not conversant with Irish music - that they are 'the real thing'. Celebs have queued up to endorse them, originally in sleevenotes, and then by performing with them - and thus mark themselves out as people who know rootsy authenticity when they see it.
But in fact, the Chieftains are as much a high-concept band as the Pogues, and the music they play has never been traditional. They merely take that music and use it, as others do, as a base - in their case, for quasi-classical Chamber Orchestra arrangements (admittedly performed with great proficiency).
It's years since I've bought or listened to them but, reading these reviews, I hoped they might genuinely have gone back to basics with this one. But no - still much the same old Chieftains. The only thing that's changed is I have grown less able to tolerate the archness of it all.
This is a bitty, miscellaneous-seeming album. It has its moments, but does no more than hint at what the music is capable of.