(16 July 2000) Fronted by Maria Miller, Crannog are a Celtic-crossover
band from Scotland that have recently changed their name to Keeba. Their
limited edition EP from 1997 was one of the first recordings provided to
Musical Discoveries for review.
Crannog's latest four track EP, Elegant Disguise (Crannog (UK)
CNOG002/99, 1999) was produced with a seven person lineup. Additions
since their earlier release include Kerry Barr (fiddle) and Fiona Gunn
(fiddle, clarsach, vocals). With the name change to Keeba, further
lineup changes have occurred. See the band's
website for additional
information! Soundbites from Elegant Disguise as well as bits of
four live tracks are available there.
It is clear from the outset of this new EP that Crannog have continued
to develop their sound. Unique in the way they combine Celtic themes with
rock accessibility, Maria Miller continues to the band forward with
her stunning lead vocal work. The new artists' inputs are evident with
significant enhancements being additional vocal harmonies and an even
lusher set of instrumental arrangements. Elegant Disguise includes
three all-new tracks and a new version of "The Deepest Pool" which was the
title track of their earlier EP. The structure of the EP is very much
the same in that it shows three distinct variations of the band's sound.
The pure accessibility of the band's sound is evident in the opening
track "Pacific Finance." Vocal harmonies support Maria's lead vocal work
while lush and moving instrumental arrangements will hook the most casual
listener. True to their Celtic heritage, the track "Mischief" combines
'mouth music' in a similar style to "The Porter Black" with contemporised
traditional instrumentals and a soaring vocal part. It is a tremendous
crossover track. Vocalise harmonies, powerful percussion passages and
electronic instrumentation add to the texture developed within the
The everso enjoyable rock tune "The Deepest Pool" has been seriously
reworked with additional percussion and thicker electric guitar parts.
Here melody and rhythm are perfectly combined with layers of harmony
contributing to a Celtic crossover track with pop sensibility—eat your
hearts out Corrs! The maturity in Maria's voice is evident in the lead
while gentle backing vocals and supporting instrumental arrangements add
to the lush texture of the track. The EP concludes with "Into The Fire,"
an all new moderate paced track with a stunning—in your face—lead vocal
part. Fiddles are eminent in the instrumental arrangement and when
contrasted with guitar, bass and percussion, contribute to the crossover
sound the band develops in the track. Changes in pace within the track
are evident and work well. Harmony vocals continue to add texture and
with the new fiddle parts contribute most significantly to the evolution
of the band's sound.
We were immediately impressed with the latest EP, Elegant Disguise
from Crannog. The additional musicians have made a significant impact
and the band have continued to grow since their first EP The Deepest
Pool. As they continue to search for commercial success with a new
name and further lineup changes, we hope that they don't lose the unique
formula that began with Crannog. The EP is available from the band's
website and is highly
recommended to our readers—get your copy immediately! Worth a
cross-country — perhaps even trans-atlantic — journey, this latest
recording from the group is a must listen!