Irish traditional music with added chutzpah is probably the best description of Cúig’s second album, The Theory Of Chaos. Actually there are only two traditional tunes here: ‘Eamon Coyne’s’ and an untitled jig, which sounds like a distant relative of ‘Rocky Road To Dublin’, plus one tune by John McAskill and one by Jarlath Henderson – all done by the end of the second track. The remaining material is written by Cathal Murphy, Eoin Murphy and Rónán Stewart.
The band’s melody instruments are button accordion, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, Uilleann pipes and piano with Ruairi Stewart on guitar and two guest bass guitarists in Ronnie Flynn and Paul McCabe. At the core of each track are the patterns of traditional music but the arrangements by Cúig and the production by Dave Molloy have a great deal to do with the finished sound. Take ‘Before The Flood’, written by the Murphys: two fine tunes with an accompaniment which switches between pounding drums and the most delicate of light percussion. I have to say that the music doesn’t stay delicate or light for very long and it seems clear that Cúig’s real metier is on the live stage but that’s not to say that The Theory Of Chaos lacks subtlety. Just listen to the opening of Eoin’s ‘Tirolo Nights’ for confirmation of that.
There are three songs here, a first for the band. Two are written by Cathal and Rónán and one by Cathal alone and all three add a contrasting touch of lightness to the intensity of the music without being what you’d call showstoppers, although there’s something about ‘Carry On’ that draws you back to it.
Cúig are a young, exciting band with lots of ideas and considerable musical skill. Who can say where their journey will take them from here?
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‘Patient Zero’ – official video: