Sound — 8
This album was an interesting follow on from "The Stamping Ground," and certainly took Runrig in a slightly different direction. This album sounds far more progressive and certainly has digital undertones pervading through most of the tracks. While "The Stamping Ground" evoked memories of summer dances and live music, "Proterra" has a much more serious feel to it. It's still very much folk music, don't get me wrong, but it almost brings forth imagery of standing at the edge of the world looking out into the grey windy ocean. It's the songs of the uncertain future, for those who have doubts over what lies ahead. This album is full of gems though. Runrig brought in Paul Mounsey to remake two of Runrig's older songs: "The Old Boys" and "An Toll Dubh." Both songs were very simple in their previous incarnations but are now vastly improved. "An Toll Dubh" is a heart thumping battle cry from the Gaelic world; and "The Old Boys" is a beautifully haunting song that builds towards a subtle crescendo. Other good songs include "Proterra," "Day Of Days" and "Empty Glens" that are all alive with the sound of Runrig. "Failis Air An Airigh" is a very soft melody that is always calming when I listen to it. "A Reiteach" is the one song on the album that could easily belong to "The Stamping Ground," giving off the same lively jig. Overall it's a new sound for Runrig (though not too different) and it's a great effort from Runrig. It's nice to see they can probe new directions without losing the heart of their songs.
Lyrics — 8
The songs from this album were lyrically quite evocative. Whether you like the songs or not you can't deny that the words inside the music have some great meaning inside them. "Empty Glens" speaks of the transition away from churches and religion towards a more scientific world. "All The Miles" is a very simple yet beautiful melody of longing for home that we all must feel at some point in our lives. Even the Gaelic songs have some great poetry within them, even after they've been translated into English. Although two of the songs are from older albums it's still some gorgeous new poetry from Runrig and it's nice to see they haven't lost their touch.
Overall Impression — 8
"Proterra" is by far the most progressive of Runrig's albums and certainly contains less of the jig that their albums usually contain. However that is by no means detrimental to the album. There's many of Runrig's songs that sound far too similar and stagnant. "Proterra" has brought out a slightly different sound for Runrig and if you're the sort of person who will listen to multiple Runrig albums then this is a great one for your collection. It breaks up the usual style of Runrig with a more modern sound, meaning if you feel you've had too much of "Runrig" as they normally are then shove on this album and it will be a breath of fresh air. While this album is not as cheerful as the others, it has some hauntingly beautiful music. This is an album for those whose future is unclear; for those who have doubts about where they will end up. It's looking out into the grey skies and blustery seas. Listen to this album and you will see that not knowing is what makes life the adventure that it is.