Fionn Regan - Cala - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Fionn Regan - Cala

by Brian Thompson Rating:7 Release Date:2019-08-09
Fionn Regan - Cala
Fionn Regan - Cala

Whether or not you are personally captivated by his troubadour charm, it’s hard to deny that Irish singer-songwriter has always separated himself from the wave of “Brit-folk,” effortlessly putting his signature stamp on age-old genre ingredients. Through the years, he has deviated from the formula slightly with buzzing pop songs and waves of full-band instrumentation, but here on his sixth studio album, he has stripped away the excess, leaving us with what he does best: sleepy, atmospheric folk tunes. Emotive and concise, Cala is Fionn Regan’s most affecting effort to date. 

In many ways, Cala is a straightforward folk album. Opening with the one-two advance of “Collar of Fur,” a bittersweet and spirited fingerpicking ode, and “Head Swim,” focused on even the most seemingly innocuous details, Regan sets the stage for a journey that is elegant in its simplicity. From there, the album plays like a walk-through of the genre, beckoning us to follow from creaky, vintage folks songs (“Brass Locket”) to Leonard Cohen-esque triplet plucking (“Hunting Dog”) to the inclusion of electronic atmospheres. Regan is as much a curator of music as he is a craftsman. 

It’s these little touches that elevate Cala beyond simply collecting coffee shop, open mic acoustic confessionals. Ambient and exploratory flourishes on tracks like “The Ocean Wave” and “Cala” draw Regan’s otherworldly charisma into the present. Slight as they may seem on the surface, moments such as “Volca,” with its echoed harmonies, or “Glaciers,” as Regan whispers into the void, find him sharpening his sound. We’re able to chart the progression as drifting, enveloping “Riverside Heights” leads up to the expansive, shapeshifting album closer “Under the Waves/Tokyo.” 

Cala is a calming mood piece, truly able to wash over the listener with its soothing, restorative waters. Fionn Regan has keyed into the rhythm of storytelling, and now it feels as though he has accomplished what he’s been after all along. Stripped down to their instrumental bare bones, Regan’s quirky tales of love and loss feel just as potent as ever. He has always felt like he was drifting through time and space, and with Cala, it feels like he’s finally home.

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