‘And Now The Weather’ is another enjoyable solo effort from Frames co-founder Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Like his debut, ‘The Hare’s Corner’, the album draws the listener in with swelling, cinematic melodies and delicately composed instrumentation.
This time out however, improved production and composition (perhaps a result of his collaboration with other musicians) gives the album a richer texture, and do enough to gloss over the album’s flaws; most notably a lack of true variety.
Unsurprisingly, the album is strongest when led by the bow of Mac Con Iomaire’s violin, building constantly in a cinematic and prolonged manner with varying degrees of hopefulness and bittersweet melancholy.
The Finnish Line opens the record on a hopeful note with a rapturous flurry of violins, complete with light touches of twinkling piano and a steady drumbeat that fill out the second half of the song. Ironically, it feels very much like the start of something, rather than the end. The song swells optimistically towards its own finish line, adding beautiful elements of instrumentation throughout.
The production is significantly stronger than on his debut, most evident here through the manner in which the guitar is presented; providing an anxious, finger picked counterpoint to a more settled piano line on tracks such as Flower and Mood Alabama, and a fuller, more-processed sound reminiscent of Bon Iver’s Towers on The Legend Of Oisín.
The White Boat-Liam O’Reilly is the album’s emotional centre, which finds the strings flitting around a rhythmically unusual and funereal piano line. The violins quickly transition from somber to frantic, only to be overshadowed by an almost vocal and heart-wrenching lead. As is his wont, Mac Con Iomaire gradually builds this into something larger, layering on the instrumentals as the climax builds.
‘And Now The Weather’ is constantly in crescendo, for better or worse. While it lends to the cinematic nature of the record, it does make it difficult to distinguish one song from the next, and all the more likely to to lose the attention of vocal-craving listeners.
There is no release for the tension that is building up, and at times the record can feel like a mountain without a peak: while the views may be getting better and better, there is no overwhelming satisfaction at having reached the top, merely a continuous sense of journeying onwards.
However, those with patience will be rewarded with resonant and layered songs that seem to distinguish themselves all the more with each listen.