Mouth Music

Seafaring Man

Here’s a disappointment. Mouth Music’s first three albums were exhilarating explorations of the potential for Celtic-African-European fusion. Under the direction of bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Martin Swan, the group deftly and promiscuously mixed pastoral African found-sound, Irish melodies, Scottish song traditions and Euro-American electronica, and the result was exotic, joyful and eminently danceable. For its fourth effort, Mouth Music has exchanged that exuberant experimentation for a lethargic trip-hop ambience that varies little from the beginning of the album to the end. It’s not that the ambience isn’t attractive—songs like "Milleadh nam Braithrean" and "Month of July" are as pretty as anything the band has recorded before—it’s just that the mood doesn’t vary enough to hold one’s attention. Ignore this one and start at the beginning, with the band’s eponymous 1991 debut.