Tír na nÓg - I Have Known Love EP

by Jeff Penczak Rating:10 Release Date:2014-05-31

The legendary Irish acid-folk duo return with three original tracks and an awe-inspiring cover of the title track, originally recorded by Silver Apples on their sophomore album 45 years ago. Championed by John Peel, gigging alongside Tull, The Who, Procol Harum, the Fairports and Steeleyes, Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell have produced some of the finest music ever to emanate from the Emerald Isle. In other words, they’re bloody Irish music treasures.

So it is with baited-breath and nervous fingers that I set the needle down on this limited-edition, 7in coloured vinyl. Too often the ‘old timers’ return after the music world has finally caught up with their genius and have a go at rekindling the old fires. And far too often, those new fires should turn the results to kindling, indeed. Thankfully, that’s not the case here, as talent this strong never fades away and their return is as golden-eyed and honey-hued as ever.

For starters, they turn the electronic evocations and bubbling motoric beats of Simeon’s oscillators into a forlorn ballad of lost love, focusing on the tender, emotional lyrics, slowing down the beat, and delivering something which could easily have sat on any of their three seminal 70s albums. It sends shivers down the spine and tears down the cheeks.

The first of the three originals is Condell’s ‘You in Yellow’, another evocative tale which paints a picture with words. It’s essentially the observations of Sonny and his wife overlooking Dalkey Island and Dublin Bay on a warm day several years ago, but it’s timeless in its execution. Tasteful violin accompaniment and a gentle acoustic guitar complete the package.

‘The Angelus’ is reminiscent of Kitchen Cynics: soft, visual, recollecting times gone by with 21st century eyes (with wonderful images of the effects of the seasons on the birds as they pass through the Irish countryside). Finally, ‘I Pick Up Birds at Funerals’ adds a comic touch to the proceedings, demonstrating O’Kelly’s unique tactic for, well, let’s just say he’s not talking about our avian friends. An essential purchase.

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