Skipper’s Alley are a new band mining the tradition for the best and the most intriguing material, and minting their own tunes in the spaces in between. And space is what defines this very impressive debut. Thoughtful, restrained arrangements seek out tunes and songs from the Goodman collection, the Child ballad collection and beyond, where they loll peaceably side by side with contemporary compositions. Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin’s pair of tunes, Muireann’s, cast a disciplined eye over deliciously jagged-edged conversations between pipes and flute in particular. But it’s the breadth of influences, worn lightly (with a doffing of their caps to Máirtín O’Connor in their choice of the great composer’s opener, Rockin’
The Boat), and the remarkable vocals from Ó Ceannabháin and John Flynn that shimmer; a gloriously three-dimensional debut.