The album is not just one of the year’s most beautiful, incisive albums, it’s also the young singer-songwriter’s most personal statement yet. “’My previous record ‘The Shadow Of An Empire’ was me looking out of a window at the world,” he says. “With this one, it’s a clear look in.”
And there’s plenty to see. It’s a tale of “mad, wild love – there’s a central, epic love story, that spans time - it’s the story of a couple dancing between the gutter and the chandelier.” says Regan.
Self-made for little-to-no money, Regan’s debut ‘The End Of History’ (2006) launched him to an international audience, earning a Mercury Music Prize nomination and gathering a string of big-name fans, from Lucinda Williams to Rhys Ifans, who has a tattoo of Regan’s lyrics about his person. His second album, ‘The Shadow Of An Empire’, seemed to be a bit of self-sabotage, the young Irishman, having been hailed as “Folks new Pied Piper” went electric, with an album that while critically acclaimed, confused some of his fans who were searching for something to sooth the soul. “Looking at it now, I think I wanted to kick up some dust…” But ‘The Shadow Of An Empire’ was a necessary step. “If my last record was a chrysalis,” says Fionn, “100 Acres Of Sycamore is the butterfly.”
The butterfly began to emerge when Regan returned from touring, in a wilderness period that saw him travel on a pilgrimage of sorts to Deia, Majorca. A chance meeting with actress Anna Friel in Valencia, and a conversation about Robert Graves’ book The White Goddess, led Anna to invite Fionn to stay at her home in the ancient village, and most of the album was written there “being in Deia was like waking up inside the walls of a dream, as a place it had a profound effect on me” he says “the silver deposits in the mountains give them a luminous glow in the moonlight, I stayed up for days on end” says Regan. “I went to the edge in my head to a certain extent, and I documented it. These songs are essentially the wings which stopped me from falling to the rocks at that time.”
When it was time to record, he stuck by his belief of capturing things quickly and honestly. The album was recorded in seven days, straight to tape (with the same Calrec console The White Stripes recorded Elephant on) live, with all the players right there in the barn, honey-dripped strings and all. “The thing for me is to do things quick and to keep things simple, and you get left alone, all three albums have been made that way” says Regan, who, having once been hung out to dry by the Lost Highway label, knows a thing or two about the music industry. “If you take the dough, you have to be prepared to make bread”
Recently, he’s beginning to feel something of intangible value: peace. “I played my first show back the other night, just on my own, and it felt really good. This record, I think it’s me making peace with myself” 100 Acres Of Sycamore: it’s a record you could get lost inside.
Fionn Regan releases his new album ‘100 Acres Of Sycamore’ through Heavenly Recordings on 19th August. The album is the follow-up to last year’s ‘The Shadow Of An Empire’ and the title track is available to download for free on his site.
photo: AUTUMN DE WILDE
album: 100 Acres Of Sycamore
release Date: 19.08.2011
Heavenly Recordings / Coop.
official site/ myspace