Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fionn Regan, a man you should listen to

The first thing I read of Irish folksinger Fionn Regan was a litany of press clips, all from the UK, all ecstatic, and all seemingly designed to make me drop everything and listen to this guy's music immediately. For instance:

"A beguiling amalgam of Jackson C Frank, Paul Simon and Mark Kozelek… A debut that oozes rare confidence, startling maturity and originality.” MOJO – 4 Stars ****

“There’s a new luminary in our midst. The Irish born Fionn delivers a spell-binding release that captures the essence of early-Dylan's symbolist songwriting by way of Baudelaire, the delicate vocal delivery of Jose Gonzales, and the classical romanticism of Nick Drake." – 4 Stars ****

So, might as well say "free money for folk bloggers, click here", and I've been led astray before by reckless RIYLs, but while MOJO is fairly far off in its comparisions I'm not sorry they got me to his music.

The first and best of the four tracks available for streaming on his MySpace page is "Put A Penny in the Slot", and as I write this I'm on the seventh or eighth consecutive listen. The verses recall the steady, sad, wise and fatalist thrum of Songs of Leonard Cohen, the lyrics somewhere between Cohen's wistful narratives, Simon Joyner's penchant for specific, urgently delivered, meter-stretching details, and the gentle weariness of Sodastream's Karl Smith. Then on to the brilliant chorus hook, an ascending vocal line Donovan would be proud of. The whole thing's suffused with the feel of stumbling down a windswept city street in winter, with characters and stories and mystery you can't quite put your finger on. Are you streaming this yet?

"Snowy Atlas Mountains" is closer to something Mark Kozelek might pull off, fingerpicked patterns and washes of reverb underlining something darkly remembered. "My vehicle is in your drive/the wolves came on the radio/transmitting through a portal in the snowy atlas mountains"

Buy the record here.

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