Saturday, 28 February 2015

Cry Monster Cry - 'Rhythm Of Dawn', Album Review

Cry Monster Cry, 'Postcards'

Info: Last month I featured the above single, 'Postcards', from Dublin brothers Cry Monster Cry, their new album, Rhythm Of Dawn, is now on the verge of being released next week on the 6th of March, and they play in Tower Records the following day at 2pm. 

From the outset I've nothing but positive things to say about Rhythm Of Dawn, musically, thematically and lyrically it's difficult to see this as not being considered one of the strongest Irish albums of 2015. There are a lot of bands and artists out the last while that would be labelled as folk, or folk rock, but only in a very narrow sense. Cry Monster Cry have their foundations firmly built on a traditional sound with regard to the genre and are not detached from 1960's and 1970's folk like many of their peers who adopt the sound only from current bands that lie within that loose term. 

This album has two layers regarding it's message as far as I can see, the first being a self-awareness and consciousness of the human spirit, frustrated by unwelcome limitations placed upon oneself and a frustration at not being able to break away from these restrictions. Secondly, and perhaps more overtly, is an homage to home (be that locally or in a wider sense) and heritage. I thought of this side of the album quite a bit when listening to it, mainly because Richie and Jamie mention summer holidays in Donegal and the long journeys there from childhood in their bio, listening to tape compilations, something I can acutely relate to myself as my own mother is from the wilds of Tír Chonaill, thankfully this journey has been reduced from 6-7 hours to about four and a half from those heady days.

So to the songs themselves, the album starts with a bang, 'Darkest Hour, Longest Day' is rooted in 60's psych-folk, reminiscent of The Zombies, Pentangle or Nick Drake, easy going vocal harmonies melded with beautiful guitar plucking. The contemplative feel of the opening track makes way for 'Atlas', you can hear Simon & Garfunkel echoing from those youthful car journeys and the song has a solid rhythm, sombre lyrics dancing with upbeat instrumentation. The fourth track, 'Old At Heart', is perhaps the first track to broach the hometown theme, observing it's faults but understanding that those same faults are an integral part of the protagonists being now.

The following track, 'Gelert's Grave' is a highlight for me personally, it's melodies and vocals are slightly mesmerising and it feels very like a Tim Buckley ballad, like many of the tracks it's slow build up is eventually overtaken by a more driven middle and finale. Of the remaining songs on Rhythm Of Dawn, 'When The Morning Comes' has an undouted Irish folk sound, not just the banjo, but the vocals also, it's quite country as opposed to other songs and I felt a slight strain of Kings of Convenience in there also. Finally, the closing track synopses the whole album, appropriately titled 'Homebird', it's a rousing end to a very good piece of music that I can easily imagine people of every musical hue and none enjoying.

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