Can we just accept that this is the worst band name since Sconce The Ogives and move on? When Night Falls is the debut album from Folky McFolk Face, a Scots/Irish quartet based in Scotland – Irish fiddler Eabhnat Ni Laighin is the one who has been transplanted. Dougie Torrance, Jackie Mullen and Nick Watson have interesting musical backgrounds but have been drawn together by folk music and their experience shows in the sound they make and the professional production of Dougie in his own studio.
With four vocalists, guitar, fiddle, accordion, mandolin and ukulele, Folky… make a really full sound. All their songs, except the traditional ‘Seallaibh Curaigh Eòghainn’, are written by the band and, although their lyrics aren’t included with the album, they are available on their website. What isn’t provided is the background to the songs and some of them sound as if they have real stories behind them. Without the real explanations it’s down to our imagination, which can be just as rewarding.
The opener, ‘Tarskavaig’ has one of those typically Scottish tunes that demand you sing along and is a story of love found and lost. ‘Port Arthur’ is cast in the same mould but this is, if I read it right, about indentured servitude and its chorus is a real earworm. I did research ‘Iolaire’ which is built around the tragic sinking of HMY Iolaire in the Minch in 1919. More than 200 people were killed, many of them soldiers returning to Lewis after the Great War. I knew nothing of the story and this is a fine song that deserves to enter the tradition but it should be flagged up in sleeve notes.
‘Rescue Me’ is an anthemic piece and yes, I’ll say it, very Runrig. It’s another festival song and like ‘An Honest Man’ and ‘Little Heart’, is about a broken relationship. ‘The Road To Cutter Creek’ is set in the gold rush while ‘The Sands Of Skalpsie Bay’ is a tale of smuggling – I think that this one is made up but I could be wrong. There must be story behind ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ but I don’t know it.
When Night Falls is a very enjoyable debut album, perfect for singing along with, and I imagine that Folky MacFolk Face are a wow at festivals. I suppose it’s too late to change the name?
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‘Tarskavaig’ – live on the Isle Of Skye: