Fionn Regan's third album arrives without much fanfare a mere 18 months after his previous record and it sees him slightly shift direction once again. Following the electric folk pop of The Shadow of an Empire, the Irishman has moved back towards his debut. However, just because 100 Acres... lands closer to the acoustic nature of 2006's The End of History, that doesn't mean it is a regression in any way.
Bold and lush orchestration compliments the acoustic melodies and reflective narrative on the record. Its opening title-track is an emphatic example of this. Atop strings and guitar which create a dramatic atmosphere, Regan proclaims, “If he darkens your doorway/Come and tell me where he resides/Text me or bell me/Rise up, sister/I'll make sure he never darkens your doorway again.” It is a stunning start, combining achingly beautiful instrumentation with powerful imagery which flits between romance and menace, dark and light. The album continues in such a fashion, strings sweep and soar but are never overblown, while tracks like Dogwood Blossom pare things back. The album also illustrates what a fine lyricist Regan is. The poetic folk displayed here has intelligent sincerity to it that is reminiscent of Laura Marling. If The Shadow of an Empire was Regan looking out of the window into the world, this is a clear look in. These slow-burning songs revolve around a central love story which is intimate, captivating and believable.
A well-crafted work of sad-yet-warm beauty, 100 Acres of Sycamore is Fionn Regan's finest work to date. It is the kind of album that deserves your full and undivided attention from first note to last.
Review by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media.