ALTERNATIVE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS FROM DUBLIN FOLK CREW
Every track on Lankum’s sophomore album feels like a hard-won battle with the self. Through the drone of uillean pipes and accordion come the voices of artists who aren’t just remarkable for their gritty, unvarnished, bitter realism, but for their lyrical intent.
Opening with Radie Peat’s wondrous sean nos rendition of ‘What Will We Do When We Have No Money?’, the album introduces the familiar folk stylings of ‘Sergeant William Bailey’ and ‘Peat Bog Soldiers’. Certainly, these tunes have contemporary resonance, but they’re merely a starter for what Lankum really have to offer. ‘Déanta In Éireann’ is a stadium-sized lament about poverty and “cute hoors” in the Dáil – and it’s both sincere and venomous.
‘The Granite Gaze’ finds Radie singing of Ireland’s “last gasp of wonder for the cretin on the throne/As our daughters slip away across the foam” – a remarkably powerful image. ‘The Turkish Reveille’, meanwhile, reads like a eulogy for war and the refugee crisis – where “little sailors” perish, and “captains” of industry extort and deliberate. Elsewhere, ‘Willow Garden’ makes for a fittingly haunting closer.
A strange irony of mass emigration and woeful government inaction in Ireland is that many of the artists who remain here have given us powerful creative statements. Between The Earth
And Sky is up there with the best of them.
OUT NOW / PETER McGORAN