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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

The Outset Is The Highly Anticipated Second Album From Glasgow-Based Neo-Trad Band Project Smok

By Stevie Connor.

The Outset is the highly anticipated second album from Glasgow-based neo-trad band Project Smok, set for release on Friday 19 January 2024 on all streaming platforms.


Comprising the formidable talents of Ali Levack (whistle and pipes), Ewan Baird (bodhràn), Pablo Lafuente (guitar), and featuring Duncan Lyall as a guest musician and producer, The Outset marks a significant development in the trio’s dynamic sound and is sure to bolster their already enviable reputation.


The skilfully layered body of work builds on the genre-bending style the group is well-known for, applying yet more new-age pop and electronic influences to their lively and intricate compositions.


The album’s opening track, Cathcart sets the tone for the record as a whole, its enticing melody and irresistible rhythms drawing listeners in. Ali’s inimitable dexterity on the whistle shines alongside Pablo’s nuanced guitar riffs, both supported by the driving beat of Euan’s bodhràn.


1984 is the first single to be taken from the album and exudes a sense of elation, effortlessly balancing a feeling of calm with a vibrant surge of energy. While The Outset is an instrumental album, the resonant purity of the whistle on this track brings the essence of a sweet vocal harmony.


The Outset, the album’s title track, has an introspective yet optimistic feel, building in tempo, depth and momentum throughout. Meaning the start or beginning of something new, The Outset is a fitting name to encapsulate the band’s overall vision for this latest body of work, as they build on their rising success and incorporate more refined pop and electronic elements to their overall sound. 


Ali Laveck of Project Smok said: “We could not be prouder of how this album has turned out. It feels like a big leap from our previous releases and truly represents how we want Project Smok to be heard today. We last released an album in February 2020 and have done extensive touring since then, so we felt it was time to have something new out there, to showcase the direction in which we feel our sound is going.


Working with Duncan Lyall on the record has been a brilliant experience, it has been great to utilise and learn from his wealth of knowledge. We hope our listeners are as happy with the outcome as we are, we can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”


Having already become a recognised household name in the traditional music scene, bringing together an array of musical aspects, instrumental virtuosity, blistering drive, infectious rhythm and delicate sensitivity, Project Smok boast nominations for Best Up and Coming Artist at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018 and the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation at the same awards in 2019.


The Outset was recorded at GloWorm Studios in Glasgow using all analogue gear by engineer Euan Burton. It was mixed by Scott Wood at OakRidge Studios.


The album is set for release on Friday 19 January 2024 on all streaming platforms.


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