Membership of Dallahan introduced instrumentalist Ryan to big stages, world tours and decent recording facilities as well as the to the potential of the music he’d chosen to be involved with. Moonlighting from the mothership he spun off to record a solo banjo centric album a while ago, now he’s taken his live band and created something with a deal more heft and muscle. Interlacing a myriad of styles around a Celtic rock axis what’s included is fun, undoubtedly charismatic and a damn fine way to pass forty minutes or so of your time.
If you’re up for high octane jigging and reeling then put this on your ‘To Buy’ list but the hook is that Ciaran Murphy delivers with intelligence and not a little guile. A casual listener might not notice the nuances and defter touches which ‘Occupational Hazards’ has in store. Producer Duncan Lyall and mixer Garry Boyle can take as much credit for the sound produced as the musicians themselves. Gigging has honed Ryan’s crew into a tight, driving unit, well used to delivering their self composed ceilidh with an attitude and that inherent edge – not exactly roughness but certainly grit – which if removed by over production leads to smoothness and blanding. We can all name examples of such, Lyall and Boyle though have avoided such deviant ways, Ciaran Ryan and chums cruise through the album with spirit intact. The results have an impact which endears the whirling, rocking tunes that tumble from the speakers.
Titles like ‘Brechin Bad’ and ‘Plunk Rock’ tell you that much here is playful and tongue in cheek, yet you can still take it all as a serious exercise. Committed funky Celtic roots rock. Bound to warm you right through. In short a joy.