Strings & Things – The Unsolicited Dance
Irish folk rockers bring their A-game on excellent new Lp.
Strings & Things are a four piece contemporary folk band hailing from Tipperary/Galway, Ireland.
Comprising of James O’Meara Ryan, Eoin Shelley, Sean Mongey, and Eoin Salmon, this is a band that have worked diligently to earn a reputation as one of the top live acts on the circuit today. Their shows have earned them rave reviews both here in Ireland, and across the Atlantic ocean in Florida – where the group enjoyed a long stint at ‘Raglan Road’ in Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida. While the pandemic put the brakes on their live shows, it by no means stifled the creative brilliance and unrelenting drive of this band of brothers. In fact, it allowed them to knuckle down and create their stunning new album ‘The Unsolicited Dance’.
The album opener ‘Fuaim Gathering’, calls forth the mystic mists of rural Ireland to spin a spellbinding story told through instrumental wizardry. The song delivers an Irish jig as interpreted with the fire of a rock band, and the result is a staggering first impression. This is an album to be played at full volume, capturing the heat and passion of a jam packed Strings & Things performance.
Next up is ‘Jigtime’, a rip-roaring Celtic-rock banger that introduces us to the inescapably passionate voice of O’Meara Ryan. It’s a commanding tune that is delivered at a breakneck pace, a pace that continues through the title track that follows. ‘The Unsolicited Dance’ is an unrelenting anthem that is sure to be a signature song for the band for many years to come. Featuring intense lyrics, virtuoso musicianship, and a chorus to knock your head off, this brilliant tune captures the heart and soul of the band.
After a pulsating first quarter, the record settles with a well timed ballad. ‘My Dreams Are Not Enough’ is a beautiful song with a set of lyrics that pulls tight on the heart strings. The track is patient and tender, with an incredibly emotive instrumental section.
After that chance to catch our breath , our feet are propelled back into a lively dance. Anorak Jack is a straight ahead rocker, which conjures up all the fire of Strings & Things world renowned live show. It’s about this time that the listener starts to feel like they are listening to a record that is pretty special – a jaw dropping coming together of passion, talent and purpose.
‘Hurtful Souls’, and ‘Anywhere But Down’ are a pair of moody endeavours that expand upon the group’s established sound by adding a few delicious quirks to the mix. The scintillating mandolin runs of the former succeed in delighting the ear, while the whiskey soaked blues bluster of the latter is a real toe tapper. After those two brooding numbers, our spirits are immediately lifted by the playful humour of ‘Pedantic Platypus’. At this point it should be pointed out that ‘The Unsolicited Dance’ is brilliantly put together in terms of flow. This band knows when to take you up, cool you off, and really push you forward hard – a dynamic lay-out which really heightens the enjoyment of the record.
I reviewed the next track ‘What If’ when it was released a few months ago, and time has done little to diminish the impact of that cracking tune. This followed by the wonderfully tender ‘Sweet Daisy’ which once again captures the essence of classical Irish ballads, but with an effortlessly contemporary sheen.
The last couple of tracks really represent the heart of the album. ‘Filter’ is a beautiful introspective ballad with some gorgeous lyrics and an inviting instrumental that invites a hearty sing-along. ‘Run From You’ has the type of rhythm that whips up a fire, and is sure to whip audiences into a frenzy.
The album closes as it opens, with intensity, passion, and unaccountable conviction.
In layman’s terms, ‘The Unsolicited Dance’ is an absolute cracker of an album that comes with our highest recommendation. It’s hard to fault a single element of this fantastic production, and even harder to imagine that this record will not propel Strings & Things to unimaginable heights.