The Gloaming The Gloaming
Published Feb 19, 2014Those of you who take your music recommendations from Ireland's Prime Minister will be one step ahead of the rest of us on this one. Irish-American supergroup the Gloaming's hugely anticipated self-titled debut emerged from the Emerald Isle mist earlier this year and it's a knockout. This is the how-did-no-one-think-of-it-before-now confluence of Celtic-inspired contemporary Irish music and Sigur Rós, minus the pathos and percussive refrains.
The five musicians who come together here are highly accomplished on their own — Iarla Ó Lionaird, veteran of the Afro-Celt Sound System, on vocals, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh on the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, Martin Hayes on violin/fiddle, Dennis Cahill on guitar and Thomas Bartlett, who has worked with Yoko Ono, the National, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne and Glen Hansard, on piano — but they discovered during a meeting at Grouse Lodge Studios in 2011 a shared interest in breaking new, genre-defying ground.
The album is an extraordinary and virtuosic collection of unsentimental, low-calorie songs that weave together jigs, haunting sean-nós, shrewd piano and melodic multi-string textures in traditionally untraditional ways. There isn't an ounce of bloat here, not even the 16-minute "Opening Set," on an album that could have easily become a retrospective or an exercise in self-indulgence. In every instance, the songs are front and centre, not the musicians, and their impact is certain to be felt far and wide. (Justin Time)