GUESS WHO are fans of Nick Drake then? Darkr Earlyr, the new album by the all-Ireland collective of folk-rock, indie, and experimental musicians, is a reference to the great man's 1970 album, just set at a different time of day.
The collective have a strong Galway flavour, given its members include Galwegians Aaron Hurley (Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon ) and Keith Wallace (Loner Deluxe ), and Galway based Swedish artist Cecilia Danell (aka singer-songwriter A Lilac Decline ), and the album is released on the independent, Galway based, record label, Rusted Rail. The remaining band members are folk singer-songwriter Eddie Keenan (aka The Driftwood Manor ), Scott McLoughlin (Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon ), and James Rider.
Throughout its 44 minutes and 16 tracks, the album delivers both instrumentals and songs, which strike a well aligned balance between the melodic, the atmospheric, and the experimental. As with previous Cubs releases, Danell steals the show, with two thoughtful, haunting, and finely realised songs in 'October Skies' and 'Highwater'.
While 1960s and 1970s folk and folk-rock are predominant influences, elements of the Kosmische Musik strain of Krautrock are discernible, particularly on the gentle, and endearing, closing piece 'Burrow'. Overall Darkr Earlyr shows Cubs' increasing willingness to be accessible, yet without sacrificing strangeness.