- 26 Feb 21
Hic Sunt Dracones: Wyvern Lingo Deliver A Diamond
Wyvern Lingo’s eponymous 2018 debut album was, as all the best music critics would no doubt have it, a “stunning” “breath of fresh pop Éire.” I’m being serious too, songs like ‘I Love You, Sadie’ and – Jaysus - ‘Maybe It’s My Nature’ are built on melodies that had me reaching for the thesaurus to search for alternatives to “glorious”, and should, if there was any justice at all, have conquered the world’s radios. They were, deservedly, nominated for the Choice Music Prize and frankly, they were robbed.
Awake You Lie – a reference to late-night worrying – is their self-professed grown-up album, and while it certainly is that, the good news is that it refines what made the first record so great. The singles, although they could all be singles, tell the story. ‘Rapture’ – an appropriate title - begins with a gentle piano figure, then the beat kicks in and the voices slowly start to coalesce around another beautiful melody, ‘Don’t Say It’, with its myriad of choral swoops and climbs, is as catchy as that thing that’s keeping us all indoors, and ‘Only Love Only Light’ sports a combination of percussion and vocal gymnastics in the chorus that is a thing of beauty altogether.
The rest of the album is as good, if not better. There’s growth everywhere, but guitarist Saoirse Duane merits special mention, from the sinewy lines that snake in and out of ‘Sydney’ to the wah-wah squelch of ‘Ask Away’ to the blistering blow out in ‘Aurora’, yet another song the prompts me to ask if there’s a bountiful chorus mine somewhere out near Bray that they’re not telling us about.
That’s not to take away from Caoimhe or Karen either; this is very much a band record, although there aren't too many bands blessed with three lead singers. While I'm at it, seeing them play live always leaves me wondering how Caoimhe manages to play the drums and sing like that simultaneously while some of us end up injured after attempting the seemingly simple pat-your-head-and-rub-your-belly-at-the-same-time manoeuvre.
Awake You Lie finds The ‘Lingo confidently playing off these strengths and each other throughout, and perhaps the best example of this is the closing nine and a half minutes of ‘In Colour/On The Mend’. The song rolls in gently, then the music all but falls away, before the drums bring it back and the three-part harmony – and Saoirse’s guitar – begin their slow but steady climb towards the heavenly denouement. It is a wildly impressive construction, but I dare say you could listen to Wyvern Lingo harmonise over the minutiae of their electricity bill and still be nearly moved to tears.
Another of those choruses, which only need to be heard once to be forever barnacled to the hull of your consciousness, thanks someone or other for pulling them up to their ‘Full Height’. That could have been the album’s title, because that is what Wyvern Lingo are doing here, standing tall. I could go at that thesaurus again, but all that really needs to be said is that this is a great record.
Wyvern Lingo are the cover stars of the latest issue of Hot Press wherein they are interviewed, with consummate skill, by the great Lucy O'Toole. Order your copy now: