The third offering from Bray native Fionn Regan, 100 Acres of Sycamore, is a sparse and elegant affair. Recorded in Deia, Spain over the course of seven days, the short production period has benefited the record which has overwhelming themes of love and nature that are tightly woven together by Regan’s poetic songwriting. The result is an intimate and restrained album where instruments used sparingly, to add a flourish here and there, like a punctuation mark or underlining of a word or sentence.
Easing into the LP, title tracks ‘100 Acres of Sycamore’ followed by ‘Sow, Mare, Bitch, Vixen’ have subtle sounding with the lyrics enhanced by the simple production. ‘North Star Lover’ has Leonard Cohen-esque backing vocals, ever so faintly in the background, nudging the song along, whereas ‘The Horses Are Asleep’ is a beautiful rousing number with a fuller sound than the preceding tracks.
Some of the lyrics have a wide-eyed romantic feel, like”my little heart would beat when I saw your snow white feet” in ‘For a Nightingale’ or “marry me, in a registry, like a foreign film scene” in ‘The Lake District’. Yet amongst this seemingly naïve romantic mood is a plaintive ’Vodka Sorrow’. Regan’s vocals are mournful and drag out the chorus to a dramatic drunken effect.
100 Acres of Sycamore is a cohesive body of work, each song flows to the other, a rich tapestry of words, moods and metaphors. Listening to it is like sheltering in a warm cabin while a rain storm passes, it cocoons, soothes and wraps you up in its embrace. This is a confident return from Regan, and possibly his best work yet.