The latest album by Ceili Rain is called “Crash This Gate” and is made up of twelve tracks, which still follow the band’s aim of pleasing “kids aged 3 to 93”.

The band opens with the title track, which sets the tone for what’s about to come. The layering of the vocals and the arrangement is very Beatles-esque and also a bit influenced by The Who. I love how the drumming is groovy and akin to classic and older styles of rock music, meanwhile the Celtic-inspired pipes and flute melodies give a very unique sound print to the album. The bassline and drum pattern of this track are sure to be stuck in your head for days. The second track, It’s You I Love About It, has a very romantic intro with the pipes and piano that made me think it’s a great fit to be part of a movie score or soundtrack. The surprise for me on this track was the soft percussions and clap sounds that replace the heavy drums of the previous track, but they serve their purpose amazingly nonetheless. The backing vocals that double on the recurring phrase “It’s you I loved about it” and the scatting/vocalizing part that was harmonious with the pipes give this song both modern and folky vibes at the same time. 

The third track, Birdhouse, has some proggy transitions and key changes that leave a lot of room for the vocals to be soulful and experimental…and that’s exactly what they do. To say that the lead vocalist DELIVERS here would be an understatement, to be honest…I felt like I was at a live show where he was commanding the stage with his charisma and the flawless musicians performing with him. Love Corporation brings back the soft electronic percussion sounds once again; utilizing them to their full RnB extent this time. The pipes give a very folky flavor to a song that’s otherwise a magical and dreamy RnB/Soul piece with a very modern-ish arrangement. The band keeps on proving how they’re capable of making all of their abilities malleable enough to be integrated together and implemented into a track’s composition. There are some choirs here that are usually found in Christian gospel music, and a higher key on the last chorus was the cherry on top that accentuated all the soulfulness to the max level here.

The fifth track, Ten Million, felt like a merge between folk and hard rock and really reminded me of Nightwish. Once the verses started though, it calmed things down and changed the pace, and then every chorus got more energetic until the last chorus and outro had that full-blown soulful choir return. The use of every element to its fullest and exactly in its right place never failed to amaze me here. The two following tracks make use of more soulful vibes but with slightly different emotional expressions and moods. The Once-and-Future Human Race is a motivational “man in the mirror” type of song and One Pull Near The Shore is a sea shanty that’s broodingly dark and tragic. The latter of these two was the first instance on this album that I felt how mopey and heartbreaking this Celtic-rock mix can be.

I Can Believe feels like it’s taken out of a Broadway musical because of the vocals and their attitude and how they are only accompanied by the pipes and some strings. The track doesn’t have any guitars or drums and no backing vocals/choirs either, which gave the lead singer a chance to make the beautiful and bright timbre of his voice shine while singing some different and unique vocal lines. The following track, Used To Be White, is a very accessible song that should be much more popular. It has a very catchy arrangement and vocal lines that are easy to sing along with, all of which make it very accessible and a great candidate for a promotional single. My Specialty is another soft and ballad-like piece. With the softness of the Celtic pipes here, there were equally soft drumming patterns (such as the rimshots during the verses) that made me fall in love with the comfortably miserable mood this melody put me in. It’s not easy to be this emotional yet keep a sense of hope that’s very clear to shine through the song and be instilled in the listener in such a way. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks here.

Fall To You feels like it draws elements from all the previous tracks here to make a track that’s varied and versatile within itself. There are parts (like the intro and choruses) that are super groovy and heavy, other parts that are slow and dreamy and then there’s that whole instrumental midsection before the last chorus…this track truly is the culmination of all that makes this album great. Moreover, it’s a track that’s both sophisticated and multi-layered while maintaining to have enough accessibility and commercial-friendliness thanks to its sweet and catchy melodies. The final track, Twenty Seconds, is when the band decides to let out their inner beast…especially the vocals. The tracks lyrics and vocals felt like a folky anthem that’s been sung for generations, and the song had enough attitude to hype up the metalhead in me and make me shake my head…and since it’s the only track to have a proper guitar solo, I’m sure it will appeal to purists and people who are looking for some hard rock or metal elements. The grooviness of the bassline here was second to none, the drums felt like a thunderstorm, and the pipes were used aggressively enough to complement the instruments surrounding them in a very (pleasantly) surprising way.

The bottom line is, this record gets it all right. The mix of genres, the different instruments, the way they are well-balanced in the mix, and of course the emotional punch that all these elements pack. While this is a band that had 6 previous albums with the same Celtic vibes, this is the first time I felt like they’ve created a genre of their own and a sound print like no other. They deserve your time and every single track of the 12 tracks here is a journey that people should embrace with an open mind and be willing to enjoy. This record is a lot more than just folk-rock or rock that features pipes…it is a whole movement of its own that revolutionizes the use of these elements and makes them the star of the songs and the newly invented genre.