‘Avenging & Bright’ by Damien O’Kane - effortless precision, melding tradition with innovation(December 07, 2017)
Folk-fusion proliferates to a degree that will soon have the union of folk roots with almost any other genre established as a classification all its own. Sometimes the aforesaid ‘fusion’ works to the detriment of one or both sources, rather than improving either. Then again, artists like Damien O’Kane achieve the union with seemingly effortless precision, melding tradition with innovation with a careful balance between both. O’Kane combined his subtle understanding of tradition with an inventive contemporary touch to create ‘Areas of High Traffic, now at the tail end of 2017 we are treated to ‘Avenging & Bright’ ... different but equally impressive.
The result is more expansive with opulent production and O’Kane’s distinctive vocals. There is of course, the foundation of O’Kane’s Northern Irish homeland running through his music, there’s also the fearlessness to augment convention and in doing so turn out something fresh and new. Songs from Ireland, England combine with cracking originals to flow and soar throughout. Opening with the potent ‘Boston City’, the drive continues into ‘Poor Stranger’ before the reflective ‘Through All Bright Flowers’ takes a softer turn. The title track ‘Avenging & Bright’ binds the words of Irish poet and singer Thomas Moore with an O’Kane original tune to create a powerful presence. The mix also includes a beautiful Kate Rusby original ‘Lately’, followed by the evocative ‘All Among The Barley’ and ‘January Man’ both given the by now familiar O’Kane treatment, before the wholly moving ‘The Homes Of Donegal’ arrives and steals your soul.
‘Avenging & Bright’ releases on 8 December and it’s an album of manifest magnetism, heard once it will stay with you a long time.
Review: Tim Carroll