Kirsty Merryn follows up the promise of the excellent She And I with a new record that strips things back yet delivers haunting atmospheres.
Release Date: 24th April 2020
Formats: CD / DL
It was a record that gathered a set of original songs dedicated to inspirational women. Sound familiar Frank Turner?
Halfway through Constantine, the impression that this is going to be a set made up of songs that roll without rocking too markedly. Yes, she’s settled on returning with a more restrained album and one that focusses on “tales of the supernatural, the dying of the light and the land.” Like She And I, there’s a common thread with the songs following a journey through the night time, meeting at twilight and parting at dawn.
With a back up team that includes Phil Beer, Alex Alex and Sam Kelly with Ben Walker doing the album mix, there’s an instant raising of expectation.
The first peak comes with the title track; a drone backed hymn which provides a link to her debut in telling of the sorrow of nuns evicted from their convents during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. As she sings “courage sisters” it confirms the strength of feeling she holds in singing about the woman’s cause. The Deep / The Wild / The Torrent goes into the sort of atmospheres you’d get if Clannad crossed swords with Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross.
However, another highlight comes with Shanklin Chine. An original song with an age-old storyline of a woman receiving a ghostly visit from a former lover who’s died in the Battle Of Tamatave, a Napoleonic sea conflict. Encouraging her to jump off Shanklin Chive to join him in the afterlife, it’s a chilling and outstanding centrepiece. Sam Kelly takes on the voice of the sailor as his body rots, his dream lost in a blaze of gunpowder. An outstanding piece that pushes the often overworked Outlandish Knight into the shadow.
So yes, we may be faced with a starker Kirsty Merryn experience, yet it’s one where the ‘less is more’ approach works to her advantage and ups the intensity. As we reach the parting moment on The Wake, be it of night into day or into another life, or simply until the next album, we can all raise a glass to all who’ve gone ahead and also to another memorable piece of work from Kirsty Merryn.
Listen to Constantine from the album performed at Costa Del Folk in 2018 here: