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Fionn Regan — The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo (2012)

 Fionn Regan — The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo (2012)

Fionn Regan — The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo
¶   “In his music, Mr. Regan has done more than many artists to erode the boundaries between music and literature, with his lyrics always possessing the most beautiful poetry." — The chairman of the Trinity College Literary Society
¶   Among the accolades Regan has received have been nominations for the Choice Music Prize in Ireland, the Mercury Prize in the United Kingdom and the Shortlist Music Prize in the United States. Regan has cited Bob Dylan and Neil Young as influences on his music and has been referred to by Lucinda Williams as "his generation’s answer to Bob Dylan."
Born: 1981, Bray, Wicklow, Ireland
Location: Ireland
Album release: September 7, 2012
Recorded: 2011-2012
Record Label: Commercial Marketing/Universal Music Ireland
Duration:     25:33/27:44
Tracks:
01. St. Anthony's Fire      (2:37)
02. 67 Blackout      (2:34)
03. Clara To Calary      (2:33)
04. Anchor Black Tattoo      (1:46)
05. Mizen To Malin      (2:46)
06. The Gouldings      (3:20)
07. Salt & Cloves      (2:49)
08. The Bunkhouse      (2:40)
09. Midnight Ferry Crossing      (2:03)
10. Moving To Berlin      (2:25)
iTunes bonus track: 
11. "67 Blackout" (outtake)      (2:11)
Personnel:
¦¦   All personnel credits adapted from The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo's liner notes.
Performer:
¦¦   Fionn Regan — vocals, guitar, producer, mixing, artwork
Technical personnel:
¦¦   Rob Ferrier — mixing
¦¦   Aidan Foley — mastering
Recording:
¦¦   The Bunkhouse Vol.I: Anchor Black Tattoo was recorded at Regan's home studio using a four-track recorder and a single microphone. Regan noted, "I did quite a bit of touring on my own earlier this year supporting Feist and although the rooms were big, I felt very much at home on the stage and after that I had a strong instinct to get right down to the brass tacks, back to the essence of what is it that I do as a songwriter, so that’s what I’ve done."
Composition:
¦¦   Regarding the album's aesthetic, Regan stated, "You can call it folk, but I feel in a lot of ways it’s like an Irish punk album, in that it’s pure, it's stripped down, it goes against the status quo and it was made with just what I have at my disposal. Recording in this way also allowed me to work very quickly, I was documenting as I was writing, so these songs feel very fresh to me, straight out of the ground, which is a really great feeling."
Chart positions:
Chart (2012)   /   Peak position:
¦¦   Irish Albums Chart      #36
Website: http://www.fionnregan.com/ / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fionnregan / This Is Fake Diy; Tim Lee: http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/articles/albums/fionn-regan-the-bunkhouse-vol.-1-anchor-black-tattoo/  / MOJO 4 STARS / Q 4 STARS / UNCUT 8/10 / THE GUARDIAN 4 STARS / OBSERVER 4 STARS / "an undoubted talent in melody-making, lyric-writing and guitar picking, he also posesses rare judgement. It's hard to imagine further ornamentation would have done anything but get in the way" — THE SUNDAY TIMES
¦¦   © 2013 Fionn Regan/Heave-Ho Ltd.
REVIEW
Molloy Woodcraft
¦¦   The Observer, Sunday 27 January 2013   Score: ****
¦¦   Bray-born singer-songwriter Fionn Regan has chosen to eschew the full band of recent releases for his fourth long-player in order, he says, to get "back to the essence of what is it that I do" – an approach that has worked. Recorded to four-track using one microphone, the songs here have a warm, homegrown feel. Regan is a mean guitar picker with a gift for melody and turn of phrase, and tracks such as opener St Anthony's Fire and 67 Blackout fairly buzz with sweet-toned charm; Mizen to Malin is a storm warning from the Irish Sea to a nation in crisis. The record is beautiful but brief at 26 minutes; roll on Vol II.
Fortaken: http://www.theguardian.com/
In french:
¦¦   Du folk (made in Ireland) minimaliste et intimiste mais avec beaucoup de classe.
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REVIEW
By Hayley Scott , 30 January 2013  Score: ********   8/10
¦¦   Sometimes music is best stripped of all decoration, down to its bare bones and presented to us honestly. There comes a time when it’s the understated outliers that become our saviours in the quest to hear something unflashy but artistically pleasing. This is where Fionn Regan resides: The Bunkhouse Vol. I: Anchor Black Tattoo retains an aesthetic with a rawness that is intrinsically natural.

¦¦   There’s a pattern emerging within Fionn Regan’s blossoming discography and it’s one that underscores an unobtrusive disposition. From his prominent 2006 debut The End of History to its disparate successor The Shadow of an Empire, Fionn has managed to demonstrate a sincere, contemporary understanding of folk music without adhering to the usual singer-songwriter/man–with-guitar formula. Although The Shadow of an Empire and 100 Acres of Sycamore were perhaps slightly more elaborate in their compositions, Fionn operates best in a world where minimalism, melody and poetic discourse rule over florid instrumental arrangements and lofty production.
¦¦   Recorded using just a single microphone and a 4-track in his Bunkhouse studio, Regan’s fourth full-length sees a continuation of his ability to create subtly beautiful and affecting records. There’s a particular loneliness to this sort of arrangement, which evokes a solitary atmosphere where Fionn’s rhythmic soliloquies are much like previously untold stories and laments that were just waiting to be recited, not for empathy, but for solace. Beneath this ornate imagery is a distinct earthiness to the recording background hiss; the minimalist production gives you a sense that, despite the overall bleak narratives conveyed, there’s a noticeable calmness to each track that is catalysed by the peace and tranquility of the Bunkhouse’s remoteness. This is his most unembellished record to date and the simplicity of its craft also allows room for imperfections; there’s a real beauty to an album that isn’t afraid of exposing any blemishes,  an authenticity that creates an alliance between the listener and the artist on the other end reaching out and baring all.
¦¦   There’s a melancholic warmth to this album that mirrors familiar facets we found in The End of History. It’s also a vast, noticeable deviation from the sonic shift into electric à la Dylan on Shadow of an Empire; Fionn Regan has gone back to basics, and it serves him well. One thing that remains intact is his wistful eloquence where rhyming schemes range from charmingly basic to pensive and esoteric.  There’s a wonderful juxtaposition between the genteel guitar plucking and the often doleful lyricism that accompanies it. Having said that, ‘Mizen to Malin’ contains a dark mystique where Regan’s guitar paces into a brooding, funereal march. On this same track, Regan touches on Ireland’s recession, but it’s more like a maritime monologue than a political discourse.  Imagination takes over as he softly sings “Just then the Irish Sea spoke, there’s a reason this country is broke”.  The illusive imagery creates a reverie-like joy to an otherwise sullen subject matter.
¦¦   The album concludes with the hushed ‘Moving to Berlin’, which, along with the Cohen-esque ‘Carla to Calary’ produces an underlying theme of journeys and escapism, the narrated dialogue as poetically engaging as it is organic and elemental.
¦¦   Fionn Regan’s gift for melody and turn of phrase is at the forefront of this album, and there’s only one real disappointment to be had here: the brevity of the whole thing. With just a mere 26 minutes forming its contents, you’re left wanting to know more. On the other hand, it’s the short, creative simplicity of The Bunkhouse Vol. I: Anchor Black Tattoo that makes it so special.
Fortaken: http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/
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Discography:
◊  The End of History (2006)
◊  The Shadow of an Empire (2010)
◊  100 Acres of Sycamore (2011)
◊  The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo (2012)
Notes:
Shortlist Prize: the U.S. equivalent of the Mercury Prize.
◊  Awarded for Best album released in the United States that has sold fewer than 500,000 copies.
First awarded: 2001
Last awarded: 2007 (currently on hiatus)
Official website: http://www.shortlistofmusic.com/
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Fionn Regan — The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo (2012)

 

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