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LYNCHED - Cold Old Fire

LYNCHED - Cold Old Fire
Private Label

This is a many-faceted and intriguing recording, but don’t expect it to be easily digestible when you first hear it. The raw Dublin vocals deliver an initial aural assault that makes you sit up and take notice, but it was more curiosity than pleasure that kept me listening the first time. I wasn’t that keen to hear it all again, but the next day I put it on again anyway and by the time I’d heard it all through a second time, I was singing along. Since then I’ve had it on a lot, somewhat to my surprise.

Lynched describe themselves as “folk-punk”, but this doesn’t do them justice at all. Listen to the tight and expert harmonies on many of the songs, or read the very knowledgeable sleeve notes (singer and uilleann piper Ian Lynch works at the Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, where the album was recorded by another ITMA staffer, Danny Diamond). Eight of the 12 tracks are from the Irish, Scots and English traditions and all these have been given a very different spin from the sort of thing that most of us are used to. Some are layered with lengthy instrumental sections and they vary from classics like The Tri-Coloured House (which I loved), through a beautifully delivered The Old Man From Over The Sea, to a fine version of Salonika. In fact, all the traditional songs work excellently as re-wrought by Lynched and I also enjoyed one of the newer songs, the extraordinarily powerful Drinking Song From The Tomb. I wasn’t so sure about the other new songs towards the end of the album. For me, they didn’t hit the mark as well and the group’s decision to group songs together of such prodigious length was, I think, questionable.

However, there is no doubt that Lynched are taking the music in very interesting directions and they are certainly providing a breath of fresh air in our (sometimes) dusty corridors. Given their obvious enthusiasm - and respect – for the traditions in which their music is rooted, I can foresee a long and thought-provoking future for them.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.