In the history of modern pop music, there have been many fusions and combinations of music genres. There’s obviously jazz-fusion, as well as classical crossover, blues-rock, dance-punk, electronic rock, folk punk, etc. These blends have been happening since the 1950s-1960s and have become even more common in today’s independent music boom. This mixture of different genres is what makes a band like The Gloaming and their most recent self-titled album so appealing.
Two years on from their debut, this five-piece Irish-American supergroup have become a phenomenon, packing out concert halls around the world with their blend of traditional influences and subtle experimentation. Their second album explains the attraction. The starting point may be Irish song and poetry, but the fiddles of Martin Hayes and Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh are matched against the thoughtful, non-folky piano work of New York’s Thomas Bartlett, who quietly dominates much of the set and provides delicate backing for the powerful vocals of Iarla Ó Lionáird.
This second album from the Irish-American quintet frames traditional Irish reels in a post-modern context, surrounding gamboling fiddle lines with minimalist piano and drone. As with the first album, also self-titled, pianist Thomas Bartlett (that is, Doveman) plays a clean, cerebral counterpoint to band leader Martin Hayes’ history-soaked fiddle figures. An additional violin, played by Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh, layers in sustained textures and dissonances that shade line-drawn melodies with depth.