Sunday 25 February 2018

Music Review: Fionn Regan: 100 Acres of Sycamore ****

John Meagher

John Meagher

Album number three from Fionn Regan, and another compelling reason why the Bray troubadour is a national treasure. While some songwriters are content to release one soundalike album after the next, Regan is keen to explore new directions.

His first offered sparse acoustic songs, the second rousing electric numbers. This sees him employ lush orchestration, yet none of his homespun charm is lost in translation.

The opening song and title track perfectly encapsulates his new sound.

Sweetly orchestrated, with strings to the fore, it swells and subsides beguilingly but never drowns out Regan's lovely croon.

Throughout, Regan's intricately constructed songs are augmented by violins and cellos, with piano popping up here and there and the results verge on the sublime. The Horses are Asleep is ambitious, stately and lyrically oblique: it could have come from the pen of Jimmy Webb.

Meanwhile, much of the jaunty feel that characterised his last album, The Shadow of an Empire, remains, not least on For A Nightingale, an unabashed love song. "I love you," Regan sings amid lively strings, "and always will." Lovely.

Burn it: 100 Acres of Sycamore; The Horses are Asleep; For A Nightingale

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