From the West Coast of Ireland, the members of Old Hannah must have had an eye each looking across The Atlantic for the majority of their, thus far, short career.

On the lead single off ‘Iron & Wood’ West Lucie Crichlow sings “I’d rather be the rider than the road.” There’s something inherently fatalistic about this line, something very bluegrass-y and interconnected with the Southern Gothic tales of Cormac McCarthy or Flannery O’ Connor. This sense is carried on throughout the album to a lesser extent, but putting West up front really sets the tone of what this release is all about.

Oh My Love takes a lot of what is good about West and breaks that down. Crichlow’s vocals are again the focal point, as she projects wilderness with a lilt that wouldn’t be out of place in traditional Sean Nós music. She sings of a wedding but you get the sense that it may be in accompaniment to a funeral, as the music is grim, the bombast of trumpets the only let up from the dirge-like pace.

Boats, is like the turning point of the album. A male voice comes in to take up vocal responsibilities, the strings become brighter, more comforting, and the rhythm is extremely satisfying.

Following this interlude of sorts comes With You I Ride, which again showcases the emphasis that Old Hannah put on the narrative within their songs. The lyrics read like a short-story, similar in style to Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up in Blue, while their frame of reference depends mostly on old-fashioned metaphors such as Judge and Jury and the slightly cartoonish image of being tied to a railroad track.

When Crichlow sings there’s a guttural conviction in her voice that doesn’t really admit any doubts. She takes the role of someone who knows what she wants and the future that awaits her, while making heavy reference to work and hardship that will have to be done in order to get where she wants to go.

Iron & Wood sees Old Hannah finish on a high-note. They bring a different kind of energy to this song and with the emphasis now on speed, they create a highly danceable tune. In this you get a great idea of their sense of timing and accentuation, which just goes to show the ability behind their creativity.

The fact that the band makes heavy use of instruments normally associated with Bluegrass, such as the Banjo, the fiddle, horns, as well as traditional Irish music sets up a kind of duality in which you’re not sure where their intentions lie.

But generally speaking the EP is a delight. Old Hannah’s sound is something different altogether, and they inhabit this difference brilliantly, unafraid to project their interest, they do so in a way that really shows off the best parts of bluegrass and swing, keeping a nice upbeat tempo with a strong voice at the forefront of each song.