Sunday, 14 August 2011

Album Review - Fionn Regan '100 Acres Of Sycamore'

Throughout Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan's journey of musical discovery, each of his three albums have taken a different form as if he is getting a backlog of styles out of his system. This can certainly be said of his Dylan-esque second release The Shadow Of An Empire which split fans; most expecting more of Regan's finger-picked acoustic roots and instead received experimental, twangy, electric folk.

Expecting a continuation of this new found upbeat style, his third release 100 Acres Of Sycamore is actually more reminiscent of the debut - stripped back acoustic but not the same finger-pick-as-fast-as-is-humanly-possible style of The End Of History. Elements of Horse Feathers sneak their way in through the use of cello and violin which transforms the sound to a be slowcoustic, balladic and romantic. Up to a certain extent the strings can make the tracks sound quite cheesy in stark contrast to the growling lyrical style during Regan's middle album. Even if the lyrical content of the songs are not in fact love songs, the sound certainly exudes that impression. The End Of History, in my eyes, remains Regan's lyrical masterpiece and is what attracted me to his music in the first place.

Fionn Regan is an artist I can respect for his exploration into musical creation. He strikes me as a musician who is writing music that he wants to write and avoiding worrying too much about being judged on it. However, something I loved about the debut - which remains one of my all time favourite albums - was the breakneck finger-picking combined with some of the best and most infectious lyrics I've ever heard. With this being my default vision of Regan, 100 Acres Of Sycamore can come across as slightly dreary. But he remains in an experimental world of his own which is something that I can certainly appreciate and holds my curiosity for future releases.

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