The Mariannes ~ A band willing to experiment with limits of the alt-folk genre

This week, I’m writing about a band that I came across browsing the line-up for the Galway Fringe Festival that occurs annually in the last two weeks of July. The Fringe festival always manages to feature under the radar talented artists and bands. They especially have a track record in featuring some great folk, alt-folk and americana artists. This year was no exception with the recently blogged about Man Mountain Band being featured at the festival and today’s featured artist The Mariannes appearing as well.

The Mariannes formed about 2012 with each member of this six piece bringing something to the outfit that leads to their current alt-folk sound. With the vocals of Lisa Loughrey (guitar) along with Joe Maher (Lead Guitar), Eamon Cassidy (Bass Guitar), Gearóid Ó Broin (Piano, Guitar, Banjo), Jack Cassidy (Mandolin Glockenspiel) and Nathan Maher (Drums), the band have slowly settled on to a alf-folk sound that includes elements of blues, and some pop. It sounds like a mish-mash but it’s more a amalgamation of elements that make the sum of the parts all the worth while. “God Fearing Woman” is the perfect example. With a title that could have come from a Clancy Brothers song, the melody fuses a pop sentimentality built around a core folk structure.

The band’s career took off when they won the inaugural Clancy Brother’s song-writing award in 2014. The award from this along with a Fundit campaign helped them to afford recording time to produce their first release; “Lost With All Hands” EP. The award winning title track revolves around that strange phrase “Lost With All Hands”. The more you think about it, the more other-worldly those words seem. The band take what seems like a traditional folk tale about a downed ship and turn it into, for me, a mournful lament of a broken down relationship. The guitar and harmonica hover gently over the main melody adding a real melancholy to the song. It really is a beautiful tune.

The band launched the EP in Whelans in Dublin in April this year with gigs all summer in support of the EP. The tracks from the EP display their versatility even within what may seem like a easily defined genre of alt-folk; “Hurt” is probably as traditional as you might get with the Mariannes. Reminiscent of songs of the folk revival of the 1960’s, the arrangement of guitar, voice and flute keep you engaged for those brief  but perfect two minutes.

A band with willingness to explore genres and arrangements, the Mariannes have a style that suggests they wont be limited to the borders of folk and have a very bright future in front of them. For more on The Mariannes, seek out their Facebook page. The band have a few songs on Soundcloud from the EP. You can purchase the EP on iTunes and it’s well worth checking out.

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