Black Bank Folk from Dublin burst onto Irish music scene in 2016 with their critically acclaimed debut album Rising.They spent 2016 and much of 2017 touring the country including 3 Vicar Street appearances supporting Damien Dempsey and performances at Electric Picnic 2016 and 2017. The band went back into the studio with Gavin Glass last year to begin recording Last Star Fall, the follow up to Rising. This album promises much. Recorded at Orphan Studios and featuring a collaboration track with Damien Dempsey, the album shows a musical progression from the band's first outing.
The band , John and Mark Colbert, (stalwarts of the Irish music scene having played and toured with the likes of Damien Dempsey, Paddy Casey and Jerry Fish), James Sheeran, and traditional multi-instrumentalists Sean McKeon (2005 TG4 young musician of the year) and Sharon Hussey (winner of the Golden Fiddle awards, Melbourne 2010). The music brings together Indie and Folk with strands of traditional and Americana, and blends the ancient with the innovative.
Opening track Come to Me strikes the listeners with its strong folk sound, the harmonies in this case are just exemplary. The lead singer James Sheeran demonstrates his vocal abilities here and you can feel the emotions pouring out. The pipes bring in the element of nostalgia or sadness, something we somehow expect in folk songs.
Washed Away is a dramatic tune that has that feel of finality, of knowing we all going to die one day and disappear from this Earth. The music centers around the steady drumbeat and the guitar creating a heavy feeling which stays with you long after the song ends. In the end, isn't this every songwriter's goal, to move people with their songs?
Black Dog defines the term "celtic rock". It seems like the union of these two was always meant to be. Natural, effortless, yet sending a strong message of quality.
Certain parts of Candle in the Cave strongly remind us of REM's The One I love. Might be just the vocal tone or the mood the song portrays. An atmospheric composition where you can almost hear the waves crashing on the shore.
James Sheeran's voice is evocative, transmitting everything the songs are trying to say in the best way possible. The songs seem quite dark yet there is silver lining. The themes vary from mental health to Middle East refugee crisis.
The top class musicianship combined with powerful lyrics create a truly remarkable collection that is a must-listen for any Celtic music lovers.