ON the Dublin stop of their reunion tour, Scullion offered a jammed house of perspiring admirers a brief reminder of the unique spot the band occupies in Irish music. While the expansiveness of the trio's musical vocabulary was never in question, it was not necessarily unconventional guitar tunings or soaring solos which made them such a fascinating outfit.
As the trio of Philip King, Sonny Condell and Robbie Overson quickly demonstrated, they still have no difficulty with straightforwardish grown-up love songs, such as the unapologetically poppy Let's Walk. They flourish, however, only when they drift towards less conventional material.
What Scullion does like nobody else is use lushly-textured sound to stoke up unfamiliar atmospheres and strange moods. While the band forswore the sean-nos detour of I Am Stretched On Your Grave, perhaps their oddest recording, they still have plenty of other tunes to which they can give their unique gothic folk treatment.
John The Baptist, a song in which the dead prophet sings of his love for Salome while his severed head lies in a pool of blood, ought to give the band plenty of scope for darkness. ,On the night, however, King hardly seemed gloomy enough to give the words full reign, burrowing down deep into the grit for the low notes, skipping upwards again without a backward glance.
Eyelids Into Snow, the song most requested by the boisterous crowd, saw the band ambitiously evoking a complex, lucid dream of a wintry landscape to powerful effect. By the time the encores were in full swing, however, all semblances of such twilight introspection were exorcised as the band delivered some blues of the stomping and whooping kind.