Dallahan - Speak of the Devil

2023 studio album

Speak of the Devil - Dallahan

the bright young folk review

Dallahan’s fourth studio album is another rip-roaring offering from a band going from strength to strength. Speak of the Devil is a ticket for a tour of the world via Dallahan’s virtuosic blend of traditional folk music.

What makes this album different from their previous offerings is that all of the tracks are original works, and there are no guest musicians - it’s all Dallahan, from the top to the bottom. The album shines because of it.

The majority of the album was recorded as if it were a live performance, with minimal post-production overdubbing. You can tell. It sounds as if you’ve wandered into a folk club, though exactly where is a mystery. The music could be Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian, American, or from any number of other places, such is its rich and global composition.

The album features a marvellous interplay of accordion, banjo, guitar and fiddle throughout, with the occasional seasoning of vocals.

Throughout the album, Dallahan strike a remarkable balance between instrumental prowess and heartfelt storytelling. Jack Badcock’s soulful vocals take centre stage on tracks like Marina, where he delves into the Spanish theme with a clear, rich, and expressive voice. The dark and edgy soundscape, enhanced by tense and almost angry banjo accompaniment, perfectly complements the narrative of the controversial Mexican woman, La Malinche.

The album reaches its conclusion with the atmospheric and emotionally charged Anchor. Newcomer Benedict Morris (a BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) sets the stage with a sublime fiddle melody, gradually building layers of instrumentation to a shimmering climax. It’s a mesmerising journey that encapsulates the essence of Dallahan’s musical prowess and leaves the listener yearning for more.

If you can only listen to one song, firstly, make time to listen to the rest! If you still can’t, then listen to Bindølfin. It’s a confident weaving of all of the best parts of the album, delivered in a sublime package.

Dallahan’s ability to seamlessly blend diverse musical influences while maintaining their unique sound is a testament to their exceptional talent. Each track on Speak of the Devil is a well-crafted gem, executed with precision and passion.

Alex Turner

Released June 16th 2023 on CD, LP and digitally. Produced by Euan Burton.

1. Beaton’s
2. Marina
3. Bindølfin
4. The Picture On The Wall
5. Durbar Square
6. A Terrible Beauty
7. Rude Spanish Soil
8. Alma’s
9. The Bullet And The Blade
10. Anchor

Dallahan discography