- 23 Oct 19
Irish artist's adventurous musical and lyrical explorations
Ronan Furlong’s last album, Minerva’s Meddling, was voted one of the top albums of 2017 by Hot Press, helping him score a record deal for this, his third album. Diotima’s Ascent threads links through Rory Gallagher, Mike Oldfield, Horslips, metal, folk and beyond, as Furlong’s wide-ranging voice floats on top of his intense electric and acoustic guitar playing. So, if it’s easy listening you’re after, try next door.
Lyrically too, Furlong’s febrile vision connects Irish rock and folk cultures with the ancients in foreign fields, with lyrics that run the gamut from ‘Gweedore’, about an obstacle-strewn trip there, to the rich Middle Eastern flavours embedded in the evocative ‘Samarkand’ before it soars heavenward. The instrumental ‘Treasures and Fountains’ is a guitar-enthusiast’s delight, as touches of dancing diddly-eye riffs interweave until his highly-charged vocals take it somewhere far away.
The anthemic instrumental single ‘The Silver Torc’, with its furious Celtic Rock riffage, is vintage Furlong, and his punkoid drumming on the metal-ish ‘Will You Come To Meet Me?’ has occasional dashes of Keith Moon. ‘The Glass Ceiling’ is less frenetic, allowing Furlong’s skills as a melodist to shine. He can do subtle too, as on the slower ‘Hades Nebula’, building it from a seductive intro to a meteoric squall before reverting back to base; and flurries of electric guitar plough deep furrows through ‘The Jupiter Express’.
Betimes you might assume Furlong has reached peak tension, until he winds you up to new heights, but his forte is to be spectacular without being showy. He wrote, sang and played every note, and has been well-served by Mick Egan’s instinctive production and mastering.