Dublin's Lankum have been gaining quite a following blend traditional Irish folk music with more modern day drone, post rock and psychedelia. So much so that big hitters Rough Trade have stepped in to release their new album the Lifelong Day. They use harmoniums and Uilleann pipes to create beautifully heavy soundscapes with an emotional heart at the core. Very affecting music that could help soothe us in these troubled times.
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'The Livelong Day' by Lankum is a bit like if Michael Gira donned turtleneck and took Swans in a folky direction. This album comprises pieces that feel like towering, indestructible edifices. Both Lankum and Swans often begin with an innocuous, skeletal motif that is built on, and built on, and built on, until the elements coagulate into one bewildering yet regimented sonic assault. The best example of this is opening piece 'The Wild Rover' which grows and evolves like a huge, dark visualizer. It's the best song on the record, a beast full of microtones and thunderous bass. It's the kind of song that makes the small of your back clench up and sprawling vistas open before closed eyes.
Some people see folk as being all cider-swilling among the perfumes of nature, and to be fair there is a little bit about drinking ale, but this is a dark and powerful record. They sing about "the day they found him swinging" and the songs are funereal both in tempo and form. 'The Livelong Day' is folk with a gimlet eye and a fork in its tail. The pan flute is played with such intensity on 'The Pride of Petravore' it sounds as if the player is hyperventilating. 'Ode To Lullaby' is one of the stand-out tracks among stand-out tracks. A little bit like Sunn O))), it's all disturbed ambience and growling quiet.
'The Livelong Day' is baleful folk music for a brave new world, it's dark, bleak, and exultant.
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