Of the Storm is the latest offering from Irish folk act The Driftwood Manor which is released via Stone Tape Recordings whose ever growing roster of great artists continues to tickle my taste buds. Formed in 2007 they have been keeping very much in the shadows but they really deserve to be out there in the limelight as I’m sure you’ll agree after hearing this.
Their music features a mass of influences but throughout you’ll find a common ground of rich harmonies and striking yet simple melodies. For some reason I couldn’t shake off the sound of Gay and Terry Woods The Woods Band which strode that path somewhere between traditional, folk rock and a healthy dosage of seventies psychedelia. Comparing The Driftwood Manor to such a band is also a token of the value I place on their music…I really do believe they are something very special.
Front-man Eddie Keenan kicks off proceedings a cappella with some heart-wrenching vocals on Before When I Die which segues neatly into Afloat by the grace of your God with looping acoustics which are are built upon with gentle touches of bass and fiddle evoking a sense of being cast adrift.
That sensitivity in their arrangements is what makes their music so enduring and powerful. You have that space to appreciate what’s happening from those small moments to the striking ones such as the vocals of Brigid Power Ryce on Among the secrets of the rain. That simple backdrop that slowly winds down and fades adds real emotive power to the lyrics.
Both the words and music throughout this album work in a beautiful unfaltering unison. Even on the more experimental drone offering of Tell your troubles to a stone (and then throw that stone in a river) vocals are not drowned by the huge wall of sound but instead produce an eerie disembodied feeling before dragging you back from a dreamscape to an earthly upbeat outro.
Throughout their music there is pagan and mystical imagery, one which must be strongly influenced by their own Irish folklore from a land filled with the most joyous jigs and reels to the saddest sounding airs. Laments such as God knows I’m a sinner for you now contain a great delicate beauty, a deep and sincere respect for their music that all of The Driftwood Manor accentuate.
Their music is spellbinding and beautiful.