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Waterboys are up to ambitious task of adapting poems

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Saturday, March 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

‘An Appointment With Mr. Yeats'

The Waterboys (Proper)

★★★★

As the lone constant member of British rock outfit the Waterboys, Mike Scott has spent 30 years making first-rate records. Latest project, “An Appointment With Mr. Yeats,” ranks among the Waterboys' most ambitious to date, but Scott pulls it off in fine fashion. He's adapted 14 poems by noted Irish poet William Butler Yeats and set them to music and what could have turned into a self-indulgent mess, instead stands among the best entries in the Waterboys' discography.

From the opening moments of “The Hosting of the Shee,” it's evident Scott knows exactly what he's doing. The Waterboys impress throughout, with standouts that include “News for the Delphic Oracle,” “Sweet Dancer” (and its scene-stealing performance by guest vocalist Katie Kim), “White Birds,” “Mad as the Mist and Snow,” “September 1913,” “An Irish Airman Forsees His Death” and “Let the Earth Bear Witness.” Sure, the source material is terrific, but Scott and the Waterboys have elevated these poems to a new level of accessibility.

Jeffrey Sisk is an editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-664-9161 ext. 1952, or jsisk@tribweb.com.

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