If you listen to one thing this week: And Now The Weather by Colm Mac Con Iomaire
The Ticket's Album of the Week is former Frames fiddler Colm Mac Con Iomaire's new album And Now The Weather/ Agus Anois An Aimsir
Recently described by Philip King as “the still centre at the heart of The Frames”, it’s easy to overlook Colm Mac Con Iomaire’s substantial body of work. A founding member of Kila and The Frames, an established film and theatre composer and Meteor Award nominee for his 2008 album The Hare’s Corner, the unassuming violinist is more adept at deflecting attention than basking in its glory.
And Now The Weather reflects Mac Con Iomaire’s skills as a composer, musician, arranger and limelight-sharing bandmate. Recorded in studios and homes across Wexford, Wicklow, Sheffield, Dublin and San Francisco with 21 fellow musicians (including Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Carol Keogh, Colm Ó’Snodaigh and Colm Quearney), these 10 gorgeous, pocket-sized instrumentals come from a classically trained head, a transient folk soul and an indomitable traditional heart. If The Gloaming finally dragged trad across the threshold into mainstream culture, Mac Con Iomaire is well placed to follow them.
Opener The Finnish Line sets the tone with a breezy lilt over light percussion, sweeping strings and a radiant piano riff. It’s the musical equivalent of a slow, deep exhalation at the end of a long day. The Dubliner’s arching and aching viola on A Study In Scarlet, initially penned for a John Carney production involving Scarlett Johansson, reveals a weight of emotion using the lightest of touches.
These are tunes that are effortlessly cinematic, conjuring images of weather-beaten coastlines and vast green expanses. The evocatively titled Set Sail plots its course through gentle waters guided by zither, banjo, piano, and a choir of Siren-esque voices, Mac Con Iomaire at the helm. The White Boat-Liam O’Reilly majestically continues the nautical theme with its keening violin riding waves of rapid bow strokes while fishing among the deepest of sorrows.
And yet, there’s an inherent sense of optimism at play. Sappho’s Daughter – inspired by the Theo Dorgan text – balances the Greek familial tale on a delicate air, and the final highlight A Farewell To The Sea builds its various layers into a stirring, joyful peak before subsiding quietly, an all too soon end to a consistently beautiful and frequently incandescent collection.