BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Mike Scott has never lacked for ambition. As both the erstwhile leader of the Waterboys and a journeyman on his own, he’s specialised in sweeping widescreen epochs that draw on his Scottish origins by recalling the grace and grandeur of his homeland’s rugged windswept environs. After authoring an acclaimed book of memoirs, the autobiographical Adventures of a Waterboy, he returns to literary realms with the indisputably ambitious An Appointment With Mr. Yeats, a song cycle that incorporates the words of W.B. Yeats, the renowned Irish poet for whom this effort is named.
While there’s no doubt this would be challenging terrain for any artist attempting to stay true to an author’s intent, Scott and company fare magnificently, creating a sprawling set of songs that recalls the anthemic rush infused in the band’s earliest albums, specifically the archetypical classics This Is the Sea and Fisherman’s Blues. Happily though, for all the grand intent, the band doesn’t allow themselves to get bogged down with pomposity or pretension; rather, songs like “The Hosting of the Shee,” “News for the Delphic Oracle,” “Sweet Dancer” and “White Birds” soar on the strength of fiddles, finesse and stirring elocution. Every note affirms conviction, so that as a result, there’s not a single riff or refrain that doesn’t ring true.
Consequently, Scott and the Waterboys can take credit for yet another triumph, a work that does justice to both their indomitable muse and a lingering legacy. In crafting an album that’s filled with largess, they give their fans a work that genuinely seems destined for the ages.
DOWNLOAD: “The Hosting of the Shee,” “News for the Delphic Oracle,” “Sweet Dancer”