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Tir na Nog - The Dark Dance album review

Irish folk duo’s return gets the vinyl treatment

This album was first released in 2015, but is now being made available in a limited vinyl format. The follow-up to the band’s 1973 debut Strong In The Sun – yes, a 42-year gap between albums! – on the surface The Dark Dance is a gentle acoustic glide. However, if you dig a little deeper, then the duo of Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell is certainly whimsical, but they also have wit and a pleasing edge. This gives songs like You In Yellow, Sympathetic Love and Time Is Gone a depth that many might overlook on first listen. It has a well balanced sense of rhythm and touch, as the band tell stories within the confines of tracks that are never allowed to meander. In this fashion, Tír na nÓg are traditional folk artists, troubadours travelling from town to town recounting their experiences through music. But don’t underestimate what O’Kelly and Condell can achieve with just a guitar and percussion because they have a passion for mixing complexity with simplicity in a fashion that never appears forced. The Dark Dance is modern in its approach, but it also has a firm connection to the 70s. It works brilliantly today.