web analytics

Tir Nan Og – Jack of Folk

German Irish folksters Tir Nan Og bring all the sounds of the green island right here on Jack of Folk. 

Tir_Nan_Og__BandfotoAfter a somewhat bemusing introduction track ‘The Leprechaun Speaks’, in which an Irish styled mythical character babbles in a variety of languages, we are soon thrust into the wild folk musings of Tir Nan Og. You’d be forgiven for finding the whole concept baffling – ‘four wannabe Irishmen and one woman from southern Germany’ might not be the most likely of people to be creating music that sounds as though it would surely be coming from the emerald isle itself.

‘Johnny Pirate’ couldn’t be more aptly titled, with its rounding repeats of “Yo ho and a bottle of rum”, its about as swashbuckling as you can get, while ‘Dicey Fing Riley’ features spiralling violin work that pains a vivd picture of joyous revelry in the taverns. It’s up, up and away on ‘Alive’, entirely hopeful and uplifting with a chorus that demands some kind of bodily engagement, be it toe tapping, head nodding, or even a full on jig. There’s a more melancholic tone on ‘House Of Cards’, particularly on the solemn vocal that is filled with yearning but with undertones of hope. This is juxtaposed well with the following track ‘To Hell’, another sea shanty that throbs and swells along and encourages the listener to raise their fists high to the ceiling.

‘Raggle Taggle Gyspy’ might seem at first glance to be something of a nondescript album filler, but on further investigation it becomes clear that there is a real set of layers going on in the track. Its classic Irish mix of violins and pipes create a huge atmosphere, a sound that carries over similarly to ‘Raise Your Glass’. If you’re ever going to find a drinking song, then this is the way to do it, with its four to the floor beat on the chorus and a chant that calls all around to drink together and celebrate. Let’s be honest, there’s not a lot of celebration to be found in music these days – the throwaway joy of pop music tends to feel somewhat saccharine and false, only there for a fleeting moment – so it’s pleasant to find a band who is prepared to put out some music that truly seeks to bring some joy into the lives of others in a true and authentic way.

‘Mrs McGrath’ tumbles into the same territory of The Levellers, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The featuring of airy accordion adds a texture alongside the militaristic drumrolls, while those same drums find their way into the tumultuous ‘The Storm’. There’s a moment where the band’s rock influences show through a little, as it’s a track that could work well in a variety of styles and genres.

Closing with ‘I’m Yours’, Tir Nan Og’s Jack of Folk finds itself at the end of its energetic run. As a final song, it feels suitable out of breath, chest heaving and looking for that chance to take a break after some heavy dancing. You can almost feel the rush of adrenalin that continues to course through after a burst of energy, and that’s always a sign of a record that has done its job well in staying engaging from start to finish.

You may also like...