Alternative-folk artist Fia Rua’s third album The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High provides a thematically dense interpretation of the genre.
From the outset it becomes clear that The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High is an album of tone and mood. Resonating with an organic ominous sound, the record gradually establishes the interwoven themes that permeate throughout the lyrical content.
Flickering with an expressionistic nature Fia Rua’s songwriting takes its time. Calmly conveying the deeply personal and introspective feel of the songs themselves while the artist’s voice dominates proceedings. Through this the L.P. finds it’s core building around the musician’s deft turns of phrase (seen most effectively in ‘The Waves Are Gonna Take Your Sons’).
From the serene sway of ‘Darkness’ to the rumbling sound of ‘Long Weekend (Galway Town)’ the record moves dynamically. While slowly opening the scope of the album stylistically is shown in flourishes of folk, trad and at times punk.
Indeed, the brilliance of The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High is it’s willingness to play with the conventional aspects of the genres it borrows from. In an almost magpie like way, Fia Rua takes elements from a plethora of musical styles to create a sound that moves enough away from its roots to sound natural and relevant.
In a broader context the album also works to highlight the vibrant alternative-folk scene currently bustling around Ireland at the moment. In line with artists such as the Hard Ground, Marc O’Reilly, In Their Thousands, Sive, Inni-K, the Eskies etc Fia Rua embodies this new wave in Irish folk and traditional music. And in that respect this is a very exciting album indeed.
With The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High Fia Rua showcases the importance of expanding and crafting a sound that is personal to its core. Lyrically the album feels like a cathartic experience for the artist. While musically there is a real sense of character.
The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High by Fia Rua is out on July 26th.