It’s hard to know what to expect from Dublin 5-piece, and self-proclaimed “experimental folk” artists, Wicker Bones. Boasting an impressive array of instruments and electronics, this six track EP, or miniature concept album, certainly gives you a lot to think about.
A long instrumental introduction opens the EP, and doesn’t give much away of what is to follow. Simple and sweet, it melts easily into track two, Rocky Road to Dublin – Battle of Frank – Rocky Reprise. Introducing the unique vocal style of Bryan Dunphy, we are treated to a bit of a history lesson. Brimming with Irish charm and character, this very traditional track wouldn’t be out-of-place in any pub in Ireland, with enough variation and action to keep anyone interested.
Following another interesting and atmospheric, if slightly drawn out, instrumental interlude, comes Love Song. A soft and slow starter, it builds to an explosion of raw and fiery passion, before winding down once again. Merging seamlessly, this takes us straight into the far sweeter affair that is track five; Love Link. An unassuming instrumental, Wicker Bones make use of the beauty of simplicity, using simple melodies and accompaniment to construct this hugely atmospheric track.
The closing track arrives in the form of Red Iron Ore , and it does not disappoint. With Dunphy’s gruff, but very melodic, vocal stylings, combined with a traditionally strophic song form and beautiful instrumentation, making this one of the highlights of the EP. Getting creative, whilst maintaining the key traditional aspects of this style of music, Wicker Bones have managed to create something new, exciting and engulfing. This release just goes to prove that music can be just as effective stripped down, and without conventional gimmicks.
This band have created a strong and unique release here, with lots to like. Although relying heavily, and at times a bit too much, on the power of repetition, in whole this is an attention grabbing EP, for which they will without doubt receive lots of attention. With regular performances around Dublin city, and further afield, this is definitely a band to check out in the future.