Pleasant Moments

Fionn Regan - "The End Of History" - 2006 (Bella Union)

There are a lot of singer/songwriters around these days. Few of which deliver with the magic, honesty and sheer heartfelt-ness that is on display throughout 'The End Of History'. Yes, Mr Blunt, take note.
Irish born Fionn Regan has, with his debut album, drawn reference from such fellow songsmiths as Damien Rice, Bob Dylan and Jose Gonzalez, surpassing many of his contemporaries in terms of sheer ability to pen songs that literally tug at the listener's heart strings. Opener 'Be Good Or Be Gone' is a simple solo acoustic affair, as is much of the album with the exception of a second guitar and sparsely but perfectly placed drums, and cello. Standout tracks include 'Blackwater Child', 'The Cowshed', with a Rice-style falsetto, and 'Hunters Map' - one of the more obvious leanings towards Gonzalez, with a hypnotic, almost frantic guitar that swells in to a chorus that, in the only criticism of any of the work presented here, is over too quickly.
'Put A Penny In The Slot' is one of the best examples of the kind of imagery that is used throughout, the kind that you can't help but smile about ("I apologise/I seem to have arrived/home with items in my bag from your house/There's cutlery/a tablecloth some henna seed/And a book on presidents deceased"). Meanwhile 'Snowy Atlas Mountains' takes on the darker themes of disparity and isolation: "My jumper is soaked in pigs blood/I'm comin' out lookin' for you".
Clocking in at 6.21, it could be argued that closing track 'Bunker Or Basement' outstays its welcome - and it does almost refuse to end, only in contrast to other tracks that are in some ways over before they have begun. How many times have you heard 'this is a soundtrack to a lazy summer's afternoon' - or words to that effect? Well, this actually is. 'The End Of History' encapsulates everything that is great about acoustic music. Effortlessly.


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