Review: The Driftwood Manor - Dominican Black Abbey (2012)


artist: The Drift­wood Manor
release: Domin­ican Black Abbey
format: 3″ CD-R
year of release: 2012
label: Rus­ted Rail
dur­a­tion: 21:19

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

The Drift­wood Manor is fast becom­ing one of the house­hold names for altern­at­ive folk in Ire­land. I’ve never hid­den my admir­a­tion for their pre­vi­ous releases, albums and EPs alike, and it doesn’t sur­prise me that their latest little offer­ing Domin­ican Black Abbey is no excep­tion. Again released by Rus­ted Rail, these six tracks provide fur­ther proof of the song­writ­ing tal­ent of Eddie Keenan and his morph­ing band.

Com­pared to some of those earlier works, Domin­ican Black Abbey sounds a bit sparser; less layered vocal har­mon­ies, no elab­or­ate drones, etc. A bit of drift­ing elec­tric gui­tar melod­ies provide some new sound as well. But the core is the same: voice, gui­tar, bouzouki, violin, and solid ori­ginal com­pos­i­tions and lyr­ics that flow flaw­lessly along with the melod­ies. Listen­ing to mas­ter­ful tracks such as “Like Part­ing with Ghosts” or “The Black­est of Silks” should be enough to con­vince you.

The lyr­ics deserve some extra men­tion as well, being a lovely affair, an excel­lent tra­di­tional approach to rhythm and rhyme, and a them­atic amal­gam­a­tion of love stor­ies, nature obser­va­tion and land­scapes, and dark touches of spir­its and folk­lore.

Surely deserving of a wider audi­ence, here’s another call from me to lend The Drift­wood Manor your ears if you’re in any way inter­ested in mod­ern folk music. If you’re already a fan, you know what to do.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Domin­ican Black Abbey (3:27)
2. I Could Sense A Viol­ent Death (4:49)
3. Like Part­ing With Ghosts (4:55)
4. Trees Shaped By The Wind (2:13)
5. The Black­est Of Silks (3:38)
6. There Are Signs (2:17)

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