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“This May Be Modern Folk Music’s own OK Computer" MOJO - ALBUM OF THE MONTH
“Whether their embrace of influences from across the musical spectrum, the way they combine both traditional and progressive instincts, or even the way their albums cross from covers to self-penned songs with such ease, Lankum are at their best when they operate across the thresholds.” The Quietus
Critically acclaimed Irish quartet Lankum today share a new single ‘The New York Trader’, taken from their forthcoming album False Lankum, which is released on March 24, 2023 via Rough Trade Records. Hear the track and watch the visualiser here
“We started working on the New York Trader in January 2021. Someone who had done terrible things had found themselves in command of the ship and in order for the passengers and crew to save themselves it became necessary to throw the captain overboard into the deep, hopefully never to return. We did what was necessary, but now live in fear as the bloated corpse threatens to resurface, this time commanding an army of the dead.” explains Ian Lynch of Lankum, “We learned it, like so many other great songs, from Ringsend native and all round legend Luke Cheevers. It is one of a group of songs (sometimes referred to as the ‘Jonah Ballads’). The words to the song may be based on an older ballad called ‘The Pirate’ in which the destination was New Barbary rather than ‘Amerikay’. It was printed on broadsides in the UK where it was quite popular in the 19th century, and versions were subsequently collected in Wiltshire, Norfolk and Nova Scotia in the 20th century.”
False Lankum follows their 2019 breakthrough album The Livelong Day, which paved the way for critical and commercial success, earning them that year’s RTE Choice Music Prize (the Irish equivalent of the Album of the Year Grammy) and the #8 spot on NPR Music’s Best Albums of the Year list. Drawing on traditional folk songs, Lankum put their own dark, distinctive mark onto each, leaning into heavy drones and sonic distortion that imparts new intensity and beauty into each track. This record sees the band cement their breakout from the folk genre, creating bold, contemporary music that may be fashioned from traditional elements but is firmly new, sitting comfortably alongside Rough Trade labelmates like black midi and Gilla Band. False Lankum also features two original tracks, ‘Netta Perseus’ and ‘The Turn’, both penned by the group’s Daragh Lynch.
From the start, Dublin’s Lankum planned for False Lankum, their fourth record and third for Rough Trade, to feel like a complete piece – a progression and a journey for the listener. “We wanted to create more contrast on the record so the light parts would be almost spiritual and the dark parts would be incredibly dark, even horror inducing,” they explain. The album’s 12 tracks, composed of 10 traditional songs and two originals, show the four-piece using a new palate to colour their sound in an increasingly experimental way, alongside longtime producer John ‘Spud’ Murphy.