Reviews:: Fionn Regan The End of History

There is a working class nobility about a guy and his guitar that makes us want to listen, and as a result I’m willing to give almost acoustic disc a spin. Sadly, more often than not, I’m left flat. With so many people playing the same chord progressions, how can you distinguish the good from the bad (or more fairly, see the light through the haze).

With Fionn Regan, it is the simple realization that at the tender age of 26, this Irish folker seems to have a never ending pool of inspiration to draw from and unlike most acoustic artists, his confidence shines through and leaves you feeling invigorated, not depressed. This clarity and focus might be mistaken for simplicity, as his melodies use sparse arrangements and mostly just an acoustic, but after only a few songs I knew he was onto something special.

Musically, he reminds me of one of my favorites (Teitur) but his voice channels the folky, grizzle of Weakerthans front man, John K. Samson (and admittedly at times his delivery is similar to Dylan’s). On the opening track, Be Good or Be Gone, Fionn’s narrative draws you in, and he doesn’t try to clutter the experience by forcing more sounds than are needed. he doesn't try to be overly complex; just a simple finger picked riff and sparse harmonies.

He uses the same instrumentation for most of the record, but the album never drags or stumbles and that has a lot to do with the presence he creates. He challenges you to turn your ear elsewhere as his songs float along (mostly with powerful uplifting lyrics, not just a result of his simple strums), never weighing on your soul or your shoulders. When you sit and listen you get swept up in his imagery (I mean, how can you not see his words as his angrily says “from the filthy rich to the beggar’s ditch”), and the realistic picture he creates.

He doesn’t strain looking for clever word play and phrasing like so many coffee shop bards, never wasting 45 seconds of a verse building for one overly clever line. Fionn also seems to know when to quicken his pace or add a subtle new sound, like the strings and restrained gallop the band uses on Hunter’s Map or the mood setting percussion and textures on Snowy Atlas Mountains.

For those of you out there looking for another folk hero, Fionn Regan might be your next working class hero. Its obviously too early to tell, but the promise he shows on this record is a great start.
MP3:: Be Good or Be Gone
Video:: Be Good or Be Gone


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