Tir Na NÓg - Live At The Half Moon Album Review

Irish prog folk duo’s spellbinding set of songs old and new.

Tir Na Nog Live At The Half Moon album artwork

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Sonny Condell and Leo O’Kelly reformed Tir Na Nóg barely a decade after they originally split in 1974, have played live on and off ever since, and at long last produced a new studio album, last year’s The Dark Dance.

Also from 2015, this live recording from London draws its set list as much from this new material as from old favourites, but such is the quality of the new stuff, you won’t be complaining. You In Yellow is one such composition, a gorgeously wistful acoustic reverie decorated by some hypnotically despondent violin.

Then there’s a bewitchingly windswept, whispering quality to the gently bongo-flecked Looking Up, again from their debut album, and within the space of those three songs they have fully recreated, in the back room of a Putney boozer, the mystical vibe that was the bedrock of the three albums that made their name.

Other new songs such as Ricochet are shrouded in dark psychedelia, and the arrestingly titled I Pick Up Birds At Funerals proves a softly bluesy and infectious acoustic affair. The breathtakingly delicate readings of The Lady I Love and Two White Horses demand you simply drop what you’re doing, sit back and breathe it all in.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock