Maybe it’s our folk past, but instrumental music always seems to have had a strong resonance in Ireland – stretching in style from The Jimmy Cake and The Redneck Manifesto to the electronic scene, And So I Watch You From Afar and back full circle to The Gloaming. To that list we can add Tucan, a unique combination of the Belfast noise crew and Martin Hayes’ traditional collective. Playing acoustic instruments, they nevertheless rock pretty hard and deal in complex arrangements that a metal band would be proud of. Throw in a dash of brass and a string section and it’s certainly an invigorating sound.
Which makes it all the more of a shame that Towers doesn’t quite hit home like it should. The band made their name via online covers of ‘90s and ‘00s dance tunes from the likes of Daft Punk and The Prodigy and that sense of self is still absent, despite their clear best efforts. It’s all well played and the tunes are striking at times but somewhere, somehow, something is missing – until the final track, tellingly a lovely cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’. The very best instrumental music overcomes its lack of words to create an emotional connection that can often transcend the vocal format. Tucan certainly do strive for that but fall short. Here’s hoping for more next time.