No Crows: Escape review – A glorious melee

Fri, Oct 4, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Escape

Artist:
No Crows

Label:
Whirling Discs

Genre:
World Music

Escape captures in glorious technicolour some of the heat and light that is No Crows live. They’ve long been a band who’ve gloried in the live setting, their quantum leaps from the dense complexities of eastern European rhythms to their languid and louche jazz shades under which they happily shelter and the finer points of the Irish tradition speak of a cosmopolitan six piece, fearless and forever adventurous in their quest for musical expression.

Amid a plethora of finely-honed original tunes, No Crows invite piano accordionist and composer, Martin Tourish and singer, Lisa Lambe into the party, and their contributions nestle seamlessly into the mix. Tourish’s Midnight in Siena, in particular, is a luminous melody born outside an Italian wine bar.

Then there’s the Tom Waitsean paean to Pascal (written by Steve Wickham, and sung on full-tilt gravel-throated vocals by Wickham too), hammocked by the deliciously lurching double bass of Steve Lee and the jousting fiddles of Oleg Ponomarev and Wickham. Anna Houston’s cello and mandolin weave magical shapes through tunes that glisten in the heat of this exceptional live performance.

A glorious melee that lures the listener in from the get go.