A 10 track self-described song-cycle in honor of his native Scotland, Chris Connelly’s latest is a stripped down affair, with vocals and acoustic guitar front and center. Connelly receives a little help here and there on guitar from producers Zak Boerger, but for the most part this is a solo effort. That creates the intimacy needed to explore personal memory, myth, regrets and dreams that make up our relationship with ancestral homes.
“Pentland Firth Howl,” then, can also get repetitious, as the similar melodies and themes persist, especially on longer tracks like “An Accident in Scottish Wilderness.” Still, the simple emotional honesty of “It Has Not Brought Me Peace,” “Goodbye, Waveland” and “Going to Goat Fell” smooth over any ponderous stumbles. As usually, Connelly’s guitar is direct and evocative, and his voice, which has served him well in many a stylistic tangent, still resonates with approachable clarity.
Chris Connelly has seemed to have worked with everyone and to release a record or tape a week. Despite his prolific and wandering muse, he also has enough in the tank to deliver music that never fails to have moments of glory. “Pentland Firth Howl” is no exception,, and is an often moving addition to his hefty catalog. 7/10 -- Mike Wood (2 December, 2009)