ANYONE WHO HAS FALLEN HOPELESSLY IN LOVE WITH AN INCIDENTAL DETAIL – AN EAR GUILESSLY CURVING OUT THROUGH HAIR, A TWIST OF STREETLIGHT ACROSS A FACE – WILL RECOGNISE THAT IT’S THOSE SIMPLE MOMENTS WHICH, IRRATIONALLY, OFFER THE MOST LINGERING POETRY IN A MEMORY… “YOU PUT YOUR ARMS INSIDE MY JACKET, KISSED ME ON THE STEPS,” SANG FIONN REGAN ON OUTSTANDING 2011 SINGLE FOR A NIGHTINGALE.
He’s at it again, here – “Your diaries are bound with Chinese silk and wrapped in red ribbon” – on his fourth album, released next week.
Dispensing with the strings / piano / double-bass which pastoral-coloured the spaces on his 2011 offering 100 ACRES OF SYCAMORE, and spending last year with merely a microphone and a guitar by the fireside of some undisclosed remote place (“… a car could only get a mile away, then it was torch and foot…”), Regan’s retreat and reclusiveness have resulted in a pencil-lines album of warmth and unadorned beauty.
THE BUNKHOUSE VOL.1: ANCHOR BLACK TATTOO is the sound of a man shaking off a long touring support slot (to Feist) out in a dressed-up real world, and travelling back to the surreal, dreamlike and naked places around his introspective creativity. Sometimes vivid, sometimes blurry and impressionistic, the undistilled minor-key intimacies huddled together in THE BUNKHOUSE VOL.1: ANCHOR BLACK TATTOO are “Irish punk,” according to the Bray singer-songwriter, “because they’re pure, made with just what I had at my disposal.”
In self-sufficient and quickly moving spirit the album may be “punk” but, in terms of actual sonics (particularly 67 BLACKOUT) and in lyrical reach, the songs themselves stretch back much further, being redolent of early Dylan. Steeped in a similarly joyous and playful sense of literary possibility, his words sometimes shimmer like hallucinations in the salt-spray from a fast flowing stream of consciousness. Both Cohen (THE BUNKHOUSE’s “I’m a painter, you’re a framer”) and Drake (“You float outside my window, held up by the pull of the moon on the tide” during ST. ANTHONY’S FIRE) picnic by the banks of this Arcadian scene.
“I was documenting as I was writing,” says Regan, of THE BUNKHOUSE VOL.1: ANCHOR BLACK TATTOO’s sketch-like nature, “so the songs feel pulled straight from the ground.” Consuming the fare he unearthed, one cannot help but reflect that this is a good life.