‘Cold Old Fire’ from Lynched - ‘tradition with an edge’(October 24, 2014)
Here’s another band we haven’t heard before – Lynched, a four-piece from Dublin, with their album ‘Cold Old Fire’ of traditional music both originated in and interpreted through Ireland. Along the way they add their own peculiar originality with four-part harmonies, pipes, concertina, fiddle and guitar to create an album that’s best described as ‘tradition with an edge’. Their sound evokes memories, some rather cloudy, of hazy hours spent in languid contemplation or spontaneous enthusiasm in countless song-filled bars.
The album kicks off with their angle on the ballad ‘Henry My Son’, one of many hundred versions in circulation. They move this well-known children’s song from barely-accompanied vocals to a wider involvement of band and instruments plus a rattling snare drum. From there they include the music hall song‘Daffodil Mulligan’, before moving towards weirder realms with ‘Drinking Song from the Tomb’ reputed as a ceremonial at universities, incorporating influences from HP Lovecraft – possibly challenging to get much stranger. There’s a nod to Irish recruits in the British Army with ‘Salonika’ and a resonant version of ‘What Put the Blood?’ (widely known as ‘Edward’) squarely in the murder-ballad tradition, a dark and faintly disquieting ‘Lullaby’ offers a brooding sense of menace, straying into half-heard indistinct vocals, before a gentle pace moves to a worthy take on the Incredible String Band’s ‘Cold Days of February’.
Lynched are Cormac Mac Diarmada (vocals, fiddle, banjo) Radie Peat (vocals, concertina, wonkertina, bayan, whistle) Ian Lynch (vocals, uillean pipes, whistle) Daragh Lynch (vocals, guitar) with Daire Garvin (snare drum).
I suspect that ‘Cold Old Fire’ may not be for everyone. I feel that it requires a certain mood on behalf of the listener. Perhaps it’s my ancestors calling or the wash of Irish blood in my veins, but through both its light and dark reaches, I thoroughly enjoyed this album.
You can find band and album here: lynchedmusic.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll