Describing themselves as an alt-folk combo, Tir Eolas’ independent debut release is a culmination of the band’s work over the past five years.
Forming at The Royal College Of Music and finding themselves busking on the streets of London is probably as good an apprenticeship as you can get. Drawing on their Celtic and English folk roots, they combine original material with the almost compulsory traditional material, giving them a chance to show how they add their contemporary spin on well established songs and tunes.
Impressively combining five part singing with some lively tunes Tir Eolas have collated a set which is varied and speckled with all manner of appetising attractions. There’s an ominously brooding opening in percussionist Ruairi Glasheen’s The Call with a vocal which ranges from breathy and melodic to verging on the slightly manic, with a few well timed and well placed whoops and yelps. A most modern offering with what sounds like some fretless bass guitar weaving in and out of the arrangement.
The album sees singer/guitarist Laura Snowden taking the bulk of the songwriting duties when it comes down to the original material, coming up with an effective combination with the lively title track playing back to back with the medieval march which is Aida before moving into the traditional feel of the story ballad Your Time Will Come.
She Moved Through The Fair is always an acid test of how well the traditional material is handled. The tried and trusted introduction moves into an interesting rhythmic accompaniment mid song before delicately drifting into the final outro - it’s perhaps akin to the folk version of the Simple Minds chart busting Belfast Child rock version.
Adding a tune set in Sweet Bulgarity/Waters Of Whitby/Delicious 24, sees the piece led by dexterous, fleet-fingered and Latin flavoured acoustic guitar before Philippa Mercer’s flute takes over and, having taken time to previously name check some rock giants, leads us into the rustic folk rock territory of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull.
With the experience of Jim Moray sharing the producer’s chair with the band, together with the addition of his mixing and engineering skills, Stories Sung, Truths Told is a great reflection of where Tir Eolas sit at this particular time. A confidence boosting and self assured debut.Mike Ainscoe
An independent release, recorded at Urchin Studio, London in Summer 2014
1. The Call
2. Morven Larry
3. Stories Sung, Truths Told
5. Your Time Will Come
6. All Of This
7. She Moved Through The Fair
8. Sweet Bulgarity / Waters Of Whitby / Delicious 24
10. Though He Has Left Me