New musical influences for renowned Dublin-based Irish/Americana band.
George Orwell’s quote “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”, is sadly, as relevant today, as when he made it, in his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language”. Perhaps things have always been so, then, and it is not just the chosen go-to operating style of the current crop of departing, or incumbent, holders of high office in several western democracies.
It is a quote that inspired the track ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’, which I Draw Slow chose to be the lead single from their eponymous fifth album ‘I Draw Slow’. The song is about bringing words back down to earth and frames lead singer, Louise Holden‘s, ethereal voice over banjo musings, and a soundscape that could have graced any 70’s Laurel Canyon close harmony release.
I Draw Slow are probably better known in their native Ireland and the US, than they are here in the UK. The rest of the band is made up of Holden’s sibling David (guitar), along with Konrad Liddy (upright bass), Colin Derham (banjo), and Adrian Hart (fiddle). They have spent significant periods touring previous albums in the States, gaining them a strong following there.
This latest album was not born out of happiness. Coming together after their individual experiences of pandemic-enforced isolation, the band found their influences had broadened and the music they subsequently created together had a new darker edge to it. Their previous albums- ‘Downside’ (2008), ‘Redhills’ (2011), ‘White Wave Chapel’ (2014) and ‘Turn Your Face To The Sun’ (2017)- had more obvious traditional Irish and Appalachian influences. In this latest 10-track collection, the band have added to that mix some fresh musical influences- New Orleans funereal jazz, 60’s pop, and cinematic soundscapes. It all works to create a body of work that is pleasingly hard to place, both in time and in any single cultural home. The result is music with a welcoming freshness and variety.
Stand out tracks on the album include- the haunting ‘Bring Out Your Dead’, 70’s west coast road trip song ‘Crosses’ and the sung Irish language of ‘A chiud den tsaol’ which showcases Louise Holden’s affirmed vocals over a more traditional Irish music backing. A life-affirming dark, yet uplifting, sound. It will be appreciated by lovers of the more traditional, and acoustic, styles of Americana, as well as those who enjoy west coast 70’s music.
I Draw Slow have created a sound that is very much their own, carrying you away, in equal measure, to the Appalachian woods and Dublin hills, with the odd detour on route to New Orleans or California. What finer mix of places could there be? Not quite George Orwell’s chosen stomping grounds of Catalonia and Wigan Pier, but you can be sure he would approve.