- 18 Jun 21
Irish trad/folksters shift up the gears.
This is the follow-up to the Tipperary/Galway quartet Strings & Things’ 2017 debut Turbulence. It’s a further example of a band taking Irish folk-trad into the modern era with an impressive bunch of original songs and tunes to match their visionary musical approach. While informed by the past, their work gains in relevance and clout by being rooted in the present.
Sean Mongey’s banjo is fingerpickin’ good leading the instrumental opener ‘Fuaim Gathering’, named to honour the 2017 festival cancelled because of the Unsolicited Dance act, hence the album title too. It picks up the pace and rattles and hums to its merry conclusion. The sprightly ‘Jigtime’ has singer James O'Meara Ryan dominating a folksy tune with the ensemble chasing him at full pelt, but ‘My Dreams Are Not Enough’ takes it easy and slow for an emotion-laden song about lost love.
‘Anywhere But Down’ marries the exuberance of fifties rock’n’roll with a thrash-folk style so infectious you might need a jab after it, and Ryan’s neat guitar stylings on ‘Filter’ handsomely flesh out a song about a man living without a filter. Along the way you’ll find a jolly playfulness in the ‘Pedantic Platypus’ with attractive interaction between guitar and banjo.
Eoin Shelly’s percussive contributions and the solidity of Eoin Salmon’s bass (not least his flashes of brilliance on ‘What If’) underpin matters throughout, and despite having three fine singers, they don’t overdo the harmonies and opt for an effective less-is-more policy. Strings & Things are not the first to put rock, trad and folk through the musical blender, but few have done it with such effortless assurance and aplomb and a lively sense of musical variety.
Better still, there’s an energy about The Unsolicited Dance that suggests a band worth tracking down when the live music scene kicks off again.
Listen to: ‘Anywhere But Down’
Self-released offering The Unsolicited Dance is out now, stream the album below: