Restless as the seafaring nomads whose chanties and airs they borrowed from, the Waterboys called no one style of music their own, but roamed the oceans and passage of time for sources of inspiration. Mike Scott and his ragtag troupe of aging folkies, pub buskers, and salty punks crafted with an artisan's care scrappy Folk-Rock that resonated with romantic, vaguely new age themes. Fisherman's Blues (1988) -- containing interpretations of Van Morrison, the Beatles, and W.B. Yeats -- captures them at their most adventurous. On the title track, Scott's tearful whelps and scotch-scorched vocals reach a fevered emotional pitch that infects the entire album. At a time when rock 'n' roll had brought to the brink of extinction instruments like the mandolin, bouzouki, and accordion, the Waterboys repopulated music with them, giving their songs a timeless quality. The results were never less than majestic.
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