THE BREATH – Land Of My Other (Real World Records)

Land Of My OtherThe Breath’s new album, Land Of My Other, is a gorgeous folk album which captures the runic texture of “whispering grass” sharing ancient secrets under grey clouds burdened with foreboding gravestone rain drops.

Yeah, at times, Irish born Rioghnach Connolly’s vocals can echo the beauty of (the great!) Sandy Denny, with a voice that can also sing “across a purple sky” as “all the birds are leaving”.

The first song, ‘Don’t Rush It’, begins with a strummed guitar by co-songwriter Stuart McCallum, which ushers in a Sandy Denny-like perfect river hymned voice; and the chorus, in really nice juxtaposition, conjures a great dramatic folk melody, which gives way to the initial Albion’s crystal clean watery memory, as the song balances tough twine with gossamer beauty.

And, ‘Little One’ evokes those rain ghosts with its incessant pulse and dark vocal. Producer Thomas Bartlett (who co-wrote several songs!) adds a cryptically danced piano thought, which continues throughout the undercurrent of the entire album.

But the title song, ‘Land Of My Other’, catches a divine Celtic breath and bleeds with a flute infused resurrected absolute folk beauty. The tune simply levitates with a softly touched grace. Sometimes a song burns like a candle wick gifted with a really nice deeply melodic thought.

Ditto for ‘Cliona’s Wave’ and ‘Letters From Long Kesh’, as they float on acoustic guitar and piano, both of which buoy Rioghnach’s tender vocal that caresses that mysterious texture of “grass whispering ancient secrets”. This music touches Nick Drake’s ‘From The Morning’ sincerity. Big compliment.

And ‘Without You In It’ extends the musical “breath” into uncharted melodic waters that flow with unending quest for a beautiful horizon. The poet John Keat’s ‘Ode On A Grecian Urn’ comes to mind.

There’s a change, though. ‘Burning Away’ (after a pensive start) erupts with big piano chords and a multi-dimensional voice that shouts with fiery passion. And ‘Remembering The Flood’ recalls the ruminations of Grace Slick in her Jeferson Airplane Days. Then (ditto, again!), ‘Head Down’, like an old Sixties’ Polaroid photo, slowly develops even more psychedelic colour, and gives Alice better advice than that literary dormouse ever had to offer!

The final song, ‘Every Time It Comes Around’, dapples with even more acoustic crystal river flowing contemplation. The tune maps moments, perhaps in a late summer’s afternoon thought, when memory slips into the shade and colours swirl into a collage of melodic winds. It’s a fine coda to a lovely folk album that’s filled with words of love, loss, a bit of magic, and secrets “whispered” under an eternal “purple sky”, and watered, ironically, with the burden of those always caustic gravestone rain drops.

Bill Golembeski

Artists’ website:

‘Little One’ – official video:

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