Newest Review: ... track on the previous album, 1993's Amazing Things; "On The Edge" with retrospect could have been seen as a prelude to Ma... more
Runrig do a Sgt Pepper!!
Mara - Runrig
Member Name: onixman
Mara - Runrig
Date: 18/06/03, updated on 18/06/03 (68 review reads)
Advantages: Different Sounding, Great chill-out record.
Disadvantages: Lacks Punch, Slow
Mara, released in the autumn of 1995 was significant for two main reasons. Firstly, it was to be Donnie Munro's final album appearance before his 1997 departure to follow a career in politics. Secondly, it was by far the most experimental of Runrig's albums. On the face of it, the album has all the usual ingredients, a 70/30 split of English/Gaelic tunes penned by the McDonald brothers.
The final instrumental track on the previous album, 1993's Amazing Things; "On The Edge" with retrospect could have been seen as a prelude to Mara, as the first half of the album has a whispy, drifting sound, supposedly to reflect the nautical theme of the album (Mara is Gaelic for "sea"). While it gets close to the dreaded "concept album" idea, Mara takes a break from the soft for more upbeat rocky tunes such as "Things That Are", "The Wedding" and "Lighthouse".
It's all a bit mixed up then, and the main weakness of Mara is the absence of a keystone spine-chilling patriotic Scottish rock number - there is no "Alba", "Rocket To The Moon". or "City of Lights" for example. The fourth track; "Things That Are" is the one that gets closest to the traditional Runrig sound that marked all their previous records. Die hard fans of the band will be alienated by the highly experimental "Nothing But The Sun", even more so by the bluesy Hammond organ on "The Wedding". It really starts to get a bit of a hotch potch of musical styles by the end. In short, Mara is really a "love it or hate it" album, and while it is great chill-out music at the end of the evening - many people will be swapping it out of their CD player for "The Cutter And The Clan" or "The Big Wheel"