THE DRIFTWOOD MANOR – For The Moon (Folkwit f0133)

For The MoonGlancing at the track listing of For The Moon and seeing such titles as ‘Fraction Of A Wolf’ and ‘Fire And Brimstone’ (both early singles) you might get a certain impression. ‘Spring’ and ‘I Have Become The Waves’ might contradict that notion and, in truth, neither would be correct.

The Driftwood Manor come from western Ireland and this is their fourth album but the only one readily available in physical form. Their instrumentation seems simple: essentially guitar, fiddle, banjo and drums with various guest bass players. Lead singer Eddie Keenan adds extra textures with everything from bouzouki to beatboxing. Their songs sometimes seem to come from a world of their own invention; if you think of an acoustic Moulettes you’d be on the right track but a song like ‘The River Changing’ emerges with a clarity that they don’t achieve.

Stylistically they mix everything from folk and blues to old-fashioned psychedelia and their melodies are haunting and dressed up in rich harmonies. Neil Fitzgibbon’s fiddle is a constant element and Tommy Ryan’s drums provide a strong but unfussy foundation for everything else to build on. ‘Fraction Of A Wolf’ begins with a simple acoustic guitar and builds into one of the album’s bigger productions while ‘Spring’ opens with a capella harmonies before Keenan’s banjo joins in and a mass of backing vocals turns the song into a sort of eastern chant.

I can’t guarantee that you’ll like this record – actually that is true for a lot of Folkwit’s inventive output, some of which is quite beyond me – but I think you will. At the very least you should give it a serious listen.

Dai Jeffries

Label website:

‘Fraction Of A Wolf’ – official video:

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