Review: The Lost Brothers – ‘New Songs Of Dawn and Dust’

By Live4ever - Posted on 05 Nov 2014 at 7:44am

lostbrothers1New Songs of Dawn and Dust‘ – the most recent release of Irish folk duo The Lost Brothers – deals with ‘old problems’ in a manner the green nation’s people know best.

With soft, lost-in-dreamland voices that have the same sorrowful compassion as Christy Moore’s lullabies for the working man, the album speaks of loneliness, heartbreak and a tough life. Conveyed through romantic harmonies of a mellow and innocent nature, the despair common to the genre is presented in a way your mother would be happy with.

Unlike Irish folk hits like ‘The Wild Rover’ or ‘Whiskey In The Jar’, Mark McCausland and Oisin Leech’s musings won’t have you wind up in a pub, trashed and sing-screaming your head off. Rather, it’s like listening to the quiet suffering and enlightening regrets of a worn-out wise man who’s at pains to make your life a better one.

Although lines such as, “I lived my life in constant hurt” and, “I’ve seen these things at least a 1000 times” from ‘Derridae’ could be lost on the younger generation, they summon cathartic nostalgia – oh yes nostalgia. It couldn’t be more fitting in an age of Mumford & Sons and ‘dwelling in the past’ as a trend. Many of us knitwear and Polaroid-embracing youngsters might not know the time when this was the only way, yet we like to pretend like we’ve lived through it all. And music, being most influential in setting a mood, is a great way to empathise without going through the pain.

Not all tracks are remorseful, a more uplifting one that epitomises the spirit of being on the go is ‘Days Ahead’. The clappy acoustic guitar, chirpy trumpet and nonchalant ‘dududududuuhduduuh’ could substitute a suitcase on a luxury-escaping adventure across the southern parts of the world. It’s the song that’ll assuage the blandness of the desert on a road trip complete with cowboy hats, highway inns and sing-song bonfires. “Wake up baby, it’s time to go. Where we’re headed I don’t know…” No surprise then that ‘New Songs of Dawn and Dust’ consists of 9 songs selected from 30 written while touring.

Most remarkable about the album, recorded in cold and grey Liverpool, is not just its warmth, but the absolute unison of both members’ vocals. They create a melody of their own, perhaps most profound in ‘Walking Blues’, a tune of sentimental dedication. It’s as if the lyrics dance lightly on carefully picked notes, taking you by the hand to lead you to a state of collective day-dreamery. Instantly targeting your mindset, the joint singing is the strength of the song, if not the entire album.

The suffering ballads of The Lost Brothers are nothing new, yet this is absolutely no reason not to listen to the record at dawn and dusk, and in-between. Their musical competence, emotional appeal and fairytale-inspiring voices make it one to keep in the cubbyhole of your car, or – for those who aren’t afraid of modern technology – on your iPod.

But don’t forget to pack it the next time you hit the open road after a painful break-up.

(Christine Hogg)

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