There’s a lot to be said for going out on a high. After delivering one of the gems of 2012 with their ‘Tie The Knots’ album, Drunken Boat – Brian Walsh, Simon Dowling and Dror Zur – have decided to call it a day. So, after four albums the band is bowing out with this swan song EP entitled ‘Let Go, Be Still’. Joining them on their final voyage are axe-wielding Argonauts Darren Craig (Jogging), Shane Holly, and Colin Boylan (Bouts), ensuring that this ship isn’t going to go down quietly.
Opener So It Goes acts as a bridge between their previous release and this, serving almost as a companion piece to Remember from ‘Tie The Knots’ before the Boat’s new crew members make themselves known. A certain feeling of ennui is evoked by the lyrics – “She has nothing but time/ She watches the days go by.” Walsh wearily sings, “Feeling lightheaded/ At this stage/ It’s just old age” This sentiment is betrayed by the urgency of the coda, as the guitars get that bit heavier and the drums accentuate the distortion, punching out fills towards the climax.
Wake Up is a more rocking affair, moving from one bass drum driven guitar segment to another. As Walsh sings “Close the door on what you need to”, the suggestion that the title is a call to arms for a new direction takes on more weight. With My Feet On The Ground is light on percussion, heavy on the all-enveloping guitars that threaten to stifle Walsh’s voice. Music as a supreme force – “ascending scales of brief relief” – seems to be the theme of what can only be described as a hymn to sound, a delicate knell of guitar notes adding to the pathos. It runs into the brief drone interlude of Dreamless before the guitar peal of Quiet Hours heralds Drunken Boat’s triumphant denouement.
With a touch of Pavement, the ordered chaos of tumbling drumrolls gives way to a lurching beat; guitars snarl and heave, variously weaving through and hammering down on this percussive skeleton. The percussion almost imperceptibly falls into the background as an insistent wail of guitar acts as the constant, rolling mainstay. The cymbals finally tap out a trail to follow as the guitars pitch increasingly forward and the tom rolls rumble back in, becoming a mangled ball of noise. The sonic layers increase in mass to an inevitable crescendo, receding then, disentangling towards a lone guitar exit. It’s a fitting, final proclamation from Drunken Boat – a chapter closed but, let’s hope, a story unfinished.
Drunken Boat play their farewell gig in Twisted Pepper this Friday, 25th January 2013. Doors open at 8pm and admission is €8 with a free Drunken Boat album of your choosing