Review: The Driftwood Manor - A Gathering (2008)


tdm_gatheringartist: The Drift­wood Manor
release: A Gath­er­ing
format: CD-R
year of release: 2008
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 29:58

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

The Drift­wood Manor is a new band based in Bal­lyma­hon, Ire­land that plays a kind of acous­tic altern­at­ive rock, but with a strong dose of folk thrown in, both free and tra­di­tional. Little sur­prise if you look at the lineup, which apart from main song­writer and vocal­ist Eddie Keenan includes David Colo­han (Agit­ated Radio Pilot, United Bible Stud­ies, etc.) and Bean Dolan (Resur­rec­tion Fern), but also tra­di­tional fid­dler Neil Fitz­gib­bon, among oth­ers. This short debut album is self-released on pro CDr, and actu­ally of a very high qual­ity.

The album starts off with an instru­mental, which has a very dron­ish buildup and mel­an­cholic tinge. This shifts, how­ever, to the second one - “To The Waves” - which is uptempo and com­bines a long­ing neo­folk track (in the broad sense) with some tra­di­tional fid­dling. There is much vari­ety, though, as the three middle tracks illus­trate. “Pyre” is a calm altern­at­ive folk bal­lad with female second vocals and tracks 5 and 6 show a relaxed, though still mel­an­cholic, singer/songwriter style. The final tracks con­tain a sim­ilar mix­ture of styles, from the uptempo “The Sense Of An End­ing” - with more female vocals and also a trum­pet - to the serenity of “Trial By Fire”. The sound is also quite enjoy­able: very crisp, yet organic and idio­syn­cratic, par­tic­u­larly the drums and fiddle.

While I wouldn’t say this is a very innov­at­ive album, I’ve been play­ing it very often lately, as there is simply a lot of good song­writ­ing in here. Another piece of evid­ence that Ire­land is a nation of true artistry in the realm of pop­u­lar music. This is a highly recom­men­ded and prom­ising debut for any lover of altern­at­ive folk.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. From Here The Town Looks Like Nearby Stars (4:00)
2. To The Waves (3:22)
3. The Pull (2:09)
4. Pyre (4:15)
5. Thank You, Dear Aggressor (3:16)
6. I Will Wait For You (4:17)
7. The Sense Of An End­ing (2:43)
8. Trial By Fire (2:57)
9. Voices In The Cor­ridor (2:59)

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