Bringing together a fairly traditional folk sound with some electric guitar and a heavier, rockier tone is nothing new, but Washington Irving have taken this mould and managed to forge something else from it.
The Scottish quintet has just released the first part of their two-part album Palomides. The five tracks run through various themes including love, death and madness all the while managing to create some impressively rousing anthems. There are hints of Arcade Fire, Malcolm Middleton, The Pogues, Sons and Daughters and Foxface all rolled together in here. It’s hard to ignore the bands Scottish roots with singer Joe Black’s growling brogue and rolled ‘R’s, but this is given a lighter edge at times with contrasting female backing vocals. It’s also hard to ignore their apparent attachment to literature; going on their choice of name, as well as the tales weaved within the lyrics.
First track Wandering Wits drops in like Bottle of Smoke by The Pogues but heads off somewhere quite different once it gets going with its choir like backing. Holy Company is a toe-tapper with a hypnotic bass line throughout. You’ve Seen The Last of Me is probably the most ‘pop’ track of the album. “The dust won’t ever settle” repeats the refrain between the Ah-ah-ah climbing backing vocals near the tracks close. She Moved Through The Fair starts out as an acoustic track with trad melody, which leads you in to believing its a straightforward mellow folk song before the drums and bass fully kick in and all is not as it first seemed – this ‘folk’ band like to show you they can be equally loud too. Last track Old St Luan is somewhat of a sea shanty, a tale of time away at sea and the return with a sing-along chorus that should see it a live favourite.
As first albums go this is confident and shows a band who know how they want to sound and are proud of it, and their heritage. Volume 2 will be released later in the year.
See the band live:
25th April – London The Garage
26th April – Chester Telford Warehouse
28th April – Manchester The Castle
29th April – Sheffield The Greystones
30th April – Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
5th May – Middlesbrough Westgarth Social Club
17th May – Great Escape Festival Dome Studio
18th May – Great Escape Festival The Hub