The Eskies – And Don’t Spare the Horses review: A melodramatic melding of genres

And Don't Spare the Horses
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Artist: The Eskies
Genre: Country
Label: Absolute

The Eskies's second record, after 2015's After the Sherry Went Round, is partly a melodramatic melding of folk, swing, rockabilly, and a little klezmer, like Gogol Bordello dancing through Tallaght.

The timeless themes of betrayal and despair emerge through songs such as the furious-sounding All Good Men, You'd Already Gone, and the theatrical I'd Rather Be Lonely. These tracks should blossom well in live performances, but here, they evolve as a variation on a theme, with the theatricality often overwhelming the more subtle aspects at work.

Their less obvious compositions might win new fans. Building Up Walls is a highlight, all delicate weariness, with light guitar, and a confiding vocal that propels the building rhythm. It complements Hail, Hail – a gothic evocative piece, with far-off sounding brass harnessing a sense of impending doom. And Death to the Sentry explores the consequences of war with a prayer-like minimalism, revealing real poignancy, as does And Don't Spare the Horses, with its beautiful drums, illustrating a pilgrim's progress.

This album is also a progress for this band, which is halfway there, with one eye towards the past, and one eye towards the future.