Treacherous Orchestra – Origins


I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but somehow (I can’t remember how) I came across the Treacherous Orchestra, the most exiting folk band I’ve heard since discovering Bellowhead.

The Orchestra’s debut album, Origins – released in February this year – is spectacular. It’s full of invigorating music to delight and enrapture, to encourage the most lifeless of toes to start tapping. When you read about the band members you begin to understand why the music is rich with unexpected influences that blend together perfectly.

Robin Denselow in his Guardian piece describes the music nicely:-

An album of rousing fusion work from the vibrant Scottish folk scene, where every musician seems to play in a variety of very different bands. Treacherous Orchestra are a brave and, at times, very loud 11-piece folk big band… It’s a largely acoustic lineup that includes two pipers, two fiddlers, two percussionists (drum kit and bodhrán), along with accordion, banjo, acoustic and sometimes electric guitar. They are influenced by rock as well as traditional Celtic styles…They switch [at times] from riffs to a reggae stomp, or to the grand and lyrical Celtic melody of Easter Island, driven on by pipes and whistles.

Rob Adams in his The Herald Scotland piece says about the debut album:-

If their name suggests danger, skulduggery or something not to be trusted, fear not. Treacherous Orchestra are actually quite a cuddly aggregation, an 11-piece formed on Glasgow’s traditional music session scene who have forged a reputation for exuberant live performances where sitting still is not an option. That exuberance comes across on this debut album. There’s a joyful swagger to tracks such as the tightly executed, crisply punctuated Superfly with its mixture of fleet-fingered traditional tune playing and big grooving heft. As a band, they’re not afraid to acknowledge influences: strains of Wolfstone, Shooglenifty and various prog rock bands filter through the Scottish, Irish and Eastern European traditions. The playing is faultless and the ensemble dynamics, with occasionally added swelling strings, are impressive…

Mike Hough says in bright young folk:-

With backgrounds in bands as luminous as Shooglenifty, the Peatbog Fairies and Salsa Celtica, the artists bring a wide range of talents to this all-instrumental project. Origins is their impressive debut album.


Easter Island and Sea of Clouds are beautiful, dreamy melodic pieces conjuring images both of sun-kissed Pacific shores but also of the Scottish Isles. March of the Troutsmen has a heavy rock sound, with an ominous opening and overtones of Metallica.


Look East is a stark contrast, being an upbeat number, blending fiddles with Jazz sensibilities, resulting in a toe-tapping, irresistible and ever-so-slightly manic dance track. Similarly exciting is Superfly, although in contrast this tune is driven by fast, energetic pipes. The energy builds into a wild, swirling maelstrom of bagpipes.

This stunning debut album is very highly recommended. Give it a try.


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