Published Aug 23, 2019Not unlike his previous record, 2017's The Meetings of the Waters, Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan fixates on water on his sixth album, Cala. On "Riverside Heights," one of the many hazy songs from Cala (a Spanish word that means "creek"), he sketches scenes from a sunny seaside spot and wades in: "Swim in the widening part / In the water up to our waist," he sings in the song's chorus. By album's end, on "Under the Waves/Tokyo," he remains enthralled by water and longs to be submerged, singing, "I want to sleep with you for a day under the waves."
Regan pairs his aquatic musings with a softly picked acoustic guitar whose melodies dance like the movements of a stream. At its worst, the effect is soporific, but if you're looking for a comforting, cushiony soundscape, Cala is good company. It's when Regan opts for crisper, more invigorated sounds, though, that the album really shines.
"Collar of Fur" starts Cala off vibrantly. The primary instrument is the same — a picked guitar — but Regan sounds energized here, perhaps sparked by the possibility of the love he sings about. On the following track, "Head Swim," this hope continues to make Regan ebullient. The playful layers of bright guitars and Regan's hushed vocals are diaphanous, and like "Collar of Fur," it feels like an excited gasp before diving underwater. (Abbey Records)