Lankum putting Ireland on the map
The Irish band are back with their third album, showing that there is more to their music than the typical clichés linked to their native music.
Most of the songs on The Livelong Day, the latest release from Lankum, come from a traditional repertoire. Darragh Lynch’s guitar, his brother Ian’s bagpipe and Cormac Mac Diarmada’s fiddle are all typical of the genre, and Radie Peat’s harmonium and concertina hardly feel incongruous.
We find dances (Bear Creek), folklore classics (The Pride of Petravore, The Dark Eyed Gypsy) and a Scottish ballad which was popular during the Civil War and was later revisited and updated by Karen Dalton (Katie Cruel).
The quartet intersperse these songs with their own compositions (such as The Young People and Hunting the Wren) with a sound that is far removed from what one usually hears in Dublin’s pubs.
The harmonium and bagpipes’ enveloping drones, the precise harmonics from each instrument and the haunting vocals of the four musicians/singers make the sound feel closer to The Velvet Underground than The Chieftains.
Dusky, mystical and majestic, The Livelong Day strikes a delicate balance between joy and melancholy and confirms Lankum as a crucial group in the evolution of the Emerald Isle’s tradition.