Review Archive

‘Master of the Game’ by Des Wade – Irish myth, legend and history

(October 22, 2013)

Des Wade is an expatriate Irishman, living in Australia for over 30 years of self-imposed exile – and still he writes music that retains the lyrical and melodic heritage of his birth. He muses about enduringMaster of the GameIrish myth and legend, the history of hardship and injustice, and incorporates Celtic spirit into much of his music. Now he’s created a follow up to his album The Book of My Days – it’s called ‘Master of the Game’.
The eponymous track ‘Master of the Game’ opens with a reflective look at winning and losing, and the final foolishness of envying the ‘other man’s grass’. Des lays a mournful, world-weary vocal over the tune adding to the message of the song. The sombre tone continues through the ‘Caveranserai’ – a complex tune that sprinkles its melody behind the lyrics, not instantly accessible, more mysteriously disarming. The dark narrative truth of ‘My Brother’s Shovel’complete with its tale of betrayal and murder drives its message home without mercy - a song with a terrible warning and a dreadful sadness.

Somehow these songs are darker, more complex than before. The stories tell profound tales and spell out deep-seated sorrow. The evocative guitar on‘Sciatháin na nAingeal (Wings of Angels)’ is made all the more mysterious by use of the Irish-language lyrics and conjures a feeling of lingering sadness. Des evokes the natural beauty of his adopted land with ‘Cradle Mountain’ – presumably about Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, Australia, before returning to his persistent theme of Irish heritage with the desperate theme of ‘Before the Hunger’.

These are songs delivered with a raw edge, with meaning based on recollections real and imaginary, sometimes so personal the stories are hard to absorb, forged by heritage and experience … songs you’ll want to share. 

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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