LIVE AT THE NCH
A fine mist seems to descend right from the opening moments of The Booley House, so delicate and wistful is Martin Hayes’ fiddle, and immediately you sense that the Gloaming’s third album (recorded live in Dublin’s National Concert Hall) is going to sustain the wonder and peculiar magic of their first two. The six tracks are stretched in the way that they like to do live (as we learned in Australia in 2014), and transported to places beyond the scope of the original tune.
While all five members play their part in this, it is Thomas Bartlett’s piano harmonies that so often envelop a melody from Hayes’s fiddle or Caoimhin O Raghallaigh’s hardanger d’amore, and shift it subtly in mood, until it is like looking at an image through lightly frosted glass. He does the same behind Iarla O Lionaird’s mesmeric singing, too, with the song Cucanandy taking a fork in the road, so that improbable harmonies suddenly surround the elfin air, as if haunting it. And then, like power held in reserve, there is Dennis Cahill’s acoustic guitar, which can be phenomenally propulsive (The Sailor’s Bonnet), while still remaining largely obscured in the mists of those melodies.