Billy Rough takes a look at the Irish four-piece who are creating a stir with their experimental and eclectic reinvention of traditional Irish tunes and repertoire
From their beginnings as an ‘oft misunderstood experimental-psychedelic-folk-punk-duo, playing with far more heart than talent,’ self-proclaimed Dublin folk miscreants Lynched have been garnering some rather fine praise for their eclectic, atmospheric and fertile reinvention of songs and tunes from the Irish folk tradition.
Formed by brothers Daragh (guitar and vocal) and Ian Lynch (uilleann pipes, whistles and vocals) 12 years ago, it was while touring Dublin’s rich folk sessions and clubs that the duo swiftly enlisted the skills of multi-instrumentalist Radie Peat (concertina, bayan, harmonium, whistles and vocals) and virtuoso fiddler (and banjo player) Cormac Mac Diarmada. The alchemy born from such a fortuitous gathering saw them record their debut album, Cold Old Fire, in 2015 (reviewed in #103), a superb and exciting release.
How does one describe Lynched? There is certainly a curious yet enchanting mix of sounds in this heady brew; hints from the Travellers tradition, a dose of traditional American and Irish dance tunes, with a little dash of music-hall flair, all wrapped in the best musicianship of four-part vocal harmonies, pipes, fiddle and guitar. Adding flavours of ambient techno, psychedelic folk, black metal and punk to the mix delivers a potent, evocative and tangy stew, one that is fundamentally hard to pigeon-hole, as Ian notes: ‘I usually just let other people describe the band to be honest. We all have a particular sound in our head that we like, but I don’t know what it’s called. We often straddle a thin line between treating the song with the dignity that it deserves on one side and coming up with something that to us at least, is musically interesting on the other.’
Musically interesting it undoubtedly is. While Lynched’s heart is firmly rooted in tradition, the band are also fully aware of the relevancy and power of these songs and tunes and the fruitful musical lineage to which they now belong. ‘We are all continually influenced by all of the amazing singers and musicians that we are lucky to know around the country, to me that is the biggest inspiration of all. We would also be very into old recordings of singers like John Reilly, Mary Delaney and Tom Lenihan to name but a few. Of course bands like Planxty, The Dubliners and Sweeney’s Men have always been a big influence, along with their UK counterparts, bands like Swan Arcade and the Watersons.’ Outside of the folk world though there are a few other unusual and intriguing influences: ‘anything from Krautrock and electric music to 80s British anarcho-punk and second-wave Scandinavian black metal.’
Cold Old Fire is a true gem, beautifully produced and richly stepped in tradition, its intimate, timeless atmosphere captures a stimulating and engaging new talent. The band are touring the UK during November before heading back to Ireland for a few more gigs with the promise of a new recording in 2016. There is nothing cold about Lynched, in fact they are positively sizzling.
WIN We have 3 copies of Lynched’s Cold Old Fire to give away. Click here to enter.