The Irishman’s first album in five years adds electronic tinges to his folk songwriting and sees him reaping the rewards
It’s been half a decade since Fionn Regan’s last album, The Bunkhouse Vol. 1: Anchor Black Tattoo. In the time between that record and The Meetings Of The Waters, he has re-evaluated his creative process and even considered turning his hand to conceptual art. However, as he says: “the thing is I always get drawn back into songwriting”.
The Meetings Of The Waters, Regan’s fifth record, is a starkly different album to its predecessor, or indeed any of his other preceding records. Where Anchor Black Tattoo was raw and mainly featured Regan unaccompanied on the acoustic guitar, this long-player is a masterclass of electronic folk. There are still glimpses of his early work: Cormorant Bird has similarities in style to some of the songs on The End Of History, for example. Outside of Regan’s back catalogue, comparisons could be drawn to Beck and Bon Iver, the latter of whom sampled Regan on 00000 Million.
This stylistic change, the acoustic guitar being wrapped in a cloak of electronica, is most successfully illustrated on Euphoria, where swirls of electronic noises echo over his fingerpicked guitar. His two main styles – electronica and folk – are displayed throughout the album and Regan admitted himself that trying to blend these influences is why the album took him longer than usual to make.
However, the songs arrived suddenly for Regan. You can almost hear him scrawling the lyrics of Babushka-Yai Ya on a torn beermat as he travelled across Dublin, such is the energy and pace of the song.
The album ends with Tsuneni Ai, a 12-minute meditative instrumental electronic piece with a sparseness that provides a moment for the listener to relax. This is the beauty of The Meetings Of The Waters: it is an instrumentally lavish album, yet maintains the intimacy of a solo singer with a guitar.
Verdict: Electronica and folk meet on this long-awaited release