Where do you go after fronting one of Celtic rock’s biggest bands? Obvious really – you head off “Across The City And The World”, the second studio album that Donnie Munro has released since leaving behind Runrig and heading off into the Skye sunset back in “97.
Donnie’s a different musical beast now that’s he’s left to fend off the wolves without the swirling, anthemic song writing of the MacDonald boys. Taking on the writing duties on all but two of the ten tracks sees a mellower side appear, though never completely leaving behind the ‘feel’ of the past – due in no small part to the production being handled by Runrig’s sound squelcher Chris Harley.
The albums at its best when Dave Paton – drums, Duncan Chisholm – fiddle and Sandy Brechin on squeezebox are given their heads to chase the vocals up to ‘jigging’ pitch – “Sweetness Of The Wind” and “Highland Heart” being the best examples of Donnie picking up a pint and pulling on his dancing boots. “Sweetness” especially showing a light for song writing that could’ve been hiding behind a “MacDonald” bushel for far too long.
“Weaver Of Grass” stands out as a song that will live with him forever, a pounding modern classic based upon a tragic story of society’s failings. Building slowly on a guitar intro until the drums are invited to the cause, from which point you can fairly taste the sweat as the vocals are delivered with a passion that must’ve had the veins on Donnie’s neck bursting. This’ll have crowds baying and punching the air from Uist to Utrecht and back again.
Shame then that he felt the need to give Daniel O’Donnell a run for his money with “She Knows Love”, blandness only matched by the sugar coated “You’re The Rose” – the new record company must be demanding a chart single! Finishing on a high with “Calum Sgaire” a Gaelic beauty of a song that sees the man right at home, near acapella with a chorus of Celtic angels behind him. A great way to end – it’ll leave you gagging for the tour to come a knocking. This ain’t no “Big Wheel” – you wouldn’t expect it to be, but it’ll certainly keep him up there with the big boys and after Hypertension’s investment – must have chucked a barrow load of filthy lucre at the C.D.’s sleeve alone – they’d expect nothing less.