Irish folk/rock ensemble The River Fane originally began in 2009 when former band mates Derren Dempsey and Johnny Fox decided to work on a recording project together. This led to the creation of two independent EPs before the band entered into an extended hiatus. With Neil Paltridge and Oisín Trench completing their current lineup, they reformed in 2013 to begin putting new material together. This spawned their recently released five track compilation, Ah Here.
Beginning with “Time Is Money”, a pressing acoustic riff sets in amid wailing vocals. The instrumentation erupts energetically soon thereafter, adopting a rather psychedelic trait through frantic synths and piercing percussion. A hushed harmony takes over from here alongside guitars that barely register. It all eventually builds back up in a frenzied fashion, leading to a bracing finish.
It’s followed by the affecting piano keys of “Tea” as they preface a marching band like drum beat and a gentle melody. Growing gradually, it emanates a warm and poignant ambience and bursts into a busy and boisterous chorus which is quite stirring. It’s a fairly epic undertaking that’s as mesmerising as it is moving.
The reserved vocal introduction of “Everything to Everybody Else” comes next. It’s joined by slow and steady instrumentation, whose sombre disposition emphasizes the downbeat atmosphere of the piece. Strolling towards the chorus, a tormented vibe sets in before an accomplished guitar solo burns through the senses, maintaining a mellow mood. A melancholy melody follows, acting as a bridge to a loud and invasive conclusion.
“Write It Down” is another solemn composition, loaded full of forlorn guitars and piercing percussion. A distant harmony echoes across despondent keys during the verse, while the whole thing explodes into a furor of frenetic instrumentation in the middle. “Another Broken Stand” arrives as a dismal finale afterwards, brought to life by mournful pianos and funereal vocals. Its pessimistic demeanour brings things to a biting close.
The River Fane might not have crafted the most cheerful record ever, but it is very ambitious and grand in scale. While it can be abrasive at times, there are plenty of adept instrumental skills on display throughout its progressive execution. Ah Here probably won’t brighten up your day, but the musical talent and vision it exhibits may well leave you impressed.