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FLOOK - Ancora 

FLOOK - Ancora 
Flatfish Records FLATFISH006CD 

It's more than 20 years since Flook got together, and in that time they have built a huge fan-base and a reputation for innovative music based firmly on a foundation of Irish origins but with a definite twist. It's been a while since they released an album – 14 years in fact. Their previous recordings were all ground-breaking – nothing quite like them had been heard before. They took a break in 2008, went back on the road in 2013, and Ancora is their first release since then. Not much has changed with the music – it's still in that unmistakable Flook style with the same twists and turns and the innate sympathy with each others’ playing which makes the whole much greater than the individual parts. Most of the tunes are written by Brian Finnegan or Sarah Allen although there are also quite a few by the likes of Zoë Conway, John McSherry and Jarlath Henderson, amongst others.

In the main it's still great, driving music with the Ed Boyd/John Joe Kelly powerhouse of guitar and bodhrán underpinning the melodies and holding the whole thing together. As ever, there are contrasting moods and rhythms ranging from sweet melodic airs to the downright jazzy, with sets weaving and winding through twisted paths.

There is a host of guest artists on the album playing all kinds of everything - hammer dulcimer, lap steel, hurdy-gurdy, cello, violin, viola, steel drums, theramin and something called a pandereta asturiana (a kind of tambourine for those too lazy to Google it)! These additions very subtly enhance, but do nothing to detract from, what is the quintessential Flook sound. As a standout track I've gone for Ellie Goes West, which is a gorgeous Brian Finnegan air delivered in a simple, unpretentious manner with a touch of cello, violin, viola and upright bass to fill it out. Lovely stuff.

For the most part this is music to keep you on your toes. Flook fans will love it.

Jim Byrne


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine