John Carroll is a folk musician who hails from Limerick, Ireland but has been living in Hangzhou, China since 2007. His latest release ‘Let Every Tongue‘ is a far cry from Waverly Station and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh where he originally distributed his handmade demos / EPs on cassettes. The album is a culmination of 5 years experience living in China; emigrating, adapting and adjusting to the culture, language and all the personal changes.
Although this 7 track album may seem like it has left behind a distant place and time the fact that it was recorded in Hangzhou, China is in many respects irrelevant. It still maintains a DIY feel (a good thing in my books) with John firmly in control of its direction. Instruments are kept well earthed with guitar, cello and piano. Lyrically the album does not set out to be a joyful…it has great depth with rich poetic verses, being more visual leaving interpretation with the listener.
The opening title track ‘Let Every Tongue‘ makes use of bleak gothic imagery: a beached hump-back whale Balaenoptera and parasitic plagues of mymaridae…’Fugitve Song‘ offers a more plaintive moment with sonorous vocals matching the harmonics of cello to great effect on what becomes a lingering and sorrowful admission of inner torment and struggle. ‘Farmer and Friesian‘ features brighter rolling acoustic melodies which have a feeling of being drawn along by the inevitable with subtle two part harmonies it creates a tone that blends well with the lyrics of fate. Despite the shadowy images that John conjures up I didn’t find the album at all heavy, the rich poetry and simple arrangements add to the appeal of this album.
‘Let Every Tongue’ is an intriguing release that grabs at your curiosity, the arrangements rest in the melancholic where they may well deceive the listener of the album’s depths.