Album Review - Fullset / Notes After Dark

Fullset are back with a second album that takes up very much from where they left off with their debut Notes At Liberty.  They have changed their uilleann piper with Martino Vacca joining the party with an expressive attacking style of play that fits in very nicely with this very tight outfit.  High octane music, full of life and vitality would describe the album.  Its a progressive recording with both high energy sets and more reflective numbers sitting side by side.  From the opening set of tunes that include Gus Jordan’s, The Glen Road to Carrick and The Road to Edenderry you know where you stand.    Sophisticated and engaging arrangements draw you in, as does the voice of Teresa Horgan.  She has just enough world weariness in her vocals to interpret these songs and make them her own.  Her opening song, Both Sides the Tweed sourced from Dick Gaughan is beautifully handled. The Roseville Fair is another very engaging love song written by American folk singer Bill Staines and one that you could see turning up at trad sessions. Its one of those songs that is hard to get out of your head once you hear it. Self-compositions like Sleepy Ned of Newport written by Michael Harrison for fellow band member Eamonn Moloney and its companion 7/8 tune The Ginger Nut are intricately arranged and played. They also mix in a ragtime two-step from Joseph Lamb reflecting what these young groups are picking up on the road, with this and other American influences evident on the album.

Other members of Fullest include Andrew Meaney ( guitar ), Eamonn Moloney ( bodhrán ),  Janine Redmond ( Accordion ) and Michael Harrison ( fiddle ).  Notes After Dark is impressive on many fronts. Musically it is a very polished album, superbly arranged and with some magical touches on a number of tracks it has an extra creative edge.  You even have the glockenspiel adding a bit of sparkle on a few tracks. Rhythm shifts and tempo changes with alternating pairing of instruments keep you interested throughout.  As a band Fullset are still finding their own sound and developing as a group.  It will be interesting to see where they take things from here or how this material works in a live environment.  On the evidence of this album they have all the requisite ingredients to succeed and make further inroads as one of Ireland’s top groups.  Impressive stuff and one of the year’s best albums.

Listen and Buy : www.fullsetmusic.com

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