Randolf and The Crokers are a six piece folk and blues ensemble from Limerick made up of members Shane Storan, Clare O’Brien, Keith Kelly, Dane Staunton, Jarlath Byrne and Shay Peters. Having first formed in late 2011, the group have been very active on their local live scene, performing at venues such as Dolan’s Warehouse, as well as having won the 2014 UL Battle of the Bands tournament.

The troupe have just this month dropped their debut EP, Conversation Amongst the Ruins, which was recorded at Lakeland Studios, Athlone, before being passed on to Wav Mastering’s Richard Dowling for completion. The four track compilation begins with its lead single, “Hangin’”, as a characterful acoustic riff teams up with a happy harmonica ahead of an upbeat and absorbing harmony. Skipping along contently into a cheery chorus, it maintains a sunny and serene disposition throughout. It’s a light and lively composition that gets things off to a pleasant start.

“Warfare” follows up by fading ominously into a reserved beat and mellow melody. The warm and emotional sound it forges is particularly affecting during the captivating chorus. The instrumentation remains subtle and stirring, while the expressive vocals are smoothly executed. It all culminates in a cutting climax that puts an epic end on an otherwise tranquil ballad. “History” features a very relaxing instrumental introduction afterwards, leading towards a soothing and vibrant verse. Remaining consistently soft and calm, it trucks forward at a fairly fast pace.

Poignant piano keys play out behind a resonant harmony next as “The Trace” begins, generating a solemn ambience. The beat picks up around the minute mark through the addition of some purposeful percussion. Growing continuously as it progresses, it develops a rousing rhythm before descending into a moving instrumental exhibition. It’s not long until the vocals return with a vengeance, erupting with plenty of passion and spirit to put an arresting cap on the proceedings.

Randolf and The Crokers have put together a placid and pleasing inaugural record, full of touching harmonies and amiable instrumentation. It blends heavy elements of folk with hints of blues and acoustic rock to construct a style that allows for a wonderfully easy and laid back listen. Conversation Amongst the Ruins is available for download on iTunes now.

Graduate of NUI Maynooth’s Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there’s anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it’s writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com