No Crows: Escape review – A glorious melee

Cosmopolitan six piece showcases best of Irish tradition with languid hints of jazz

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Artist: No Crows
Genre: World Music
Label: Whirling Discs

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.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts