All The Luck in the World are three young Irish songwriters from County Wicklow who gained a degree of attention when a home recorded song of theirs titled ‘Never’ gained a large following on YouTube back in 2012, and subsequently got picked up by the travel comparison website, Trivago – further enhancing their exposure.
Since the release of their debut in late 2013, the trio have been hard at work from their base in Berlin on their follow up album, ‘A Blind Arcade’, another alternative folk outing. This latest release certainly sounds like a more adventurous progression from their debut, with the use of strings, brass and some self-created sampling instruments. It all culminates in a dense atmospheric soundscape, with excellent production, the layering of instruments proving perfect for listening on headphones.
Particularly successful on the record is the opening song ‘Landmarks’,with its wistful air of melancholia – “I set signal fires for us” – the residual memories of a lost long affair having to prove sufficient to get the song’s protagonist “through the night”, the arrangement with its brass and string arrangements proving particularly effective.
‘Contrails’, meanwhile, has an underlying repeated guitar figure running throughout the song, which leaves a temporary impression not unlike its subject matter, while ‘Golden October’, the first single from the album – a bittersweet song about the need to accept the shortcomings of a past romance and move on positively – is a properly immersive ballad with a series of lovely, guitar plucked melodies.
At times you feel the sophistication of the songs’ sounds are somewhat undermined by the more limited range of their softly sung vocal delivery. And as the material doesn’t follow a standard verse and chorus pop structure you won’t be singing along in the aftermath of these songs – and this is something which is also likely to make the band’s entry into the mainstream something of a challenge.
Saving the best till last, ‘Abhainn’, the Scottish name for the word river – “I heard the current say, there are things that you can’t wash away”, builds to a gradual climax, with a nice interplay between guitar and a delicate violin solo, before it reaches a rousing crescendo
The songs’ lyrics are all something of a piece – being a journey of self-discovery and maturity e.g. “the less we know the more we seek”, “we have to grow – and grow apart” – and are of sixth form standard in their banality. However, while the album is something of a slow burn, the accreted layers of sound gradually get under the skin, making for a moody and impressionistic piece – and one which makes the prospect of future releases, and the development of All the Luck in the World, a prospect that’s definitely worth sticking around for.