For me, I have a deep love of obscure gems from the Progressive Rock and Acid Folk scene of the 1970s in which the bands/artists would release one or three albums before they called it a day and couldn't compete with the line-up or due to the pressure in the Music Business to go commercial. One of those bands, who are part of that overlooked scenery is a duo from Ireland named Tir Na Nog, and their third and final album, Strong in the Sun, originally released on Chrysalis in 1973 and reissued by Esoteric Recordings this year, is my introduction to the band's music and let me just say that I'm getting hooked into their work.
Opener, Free Ride, which was Nick Drake's composition that had a very gentle touch, but what Leo O'Kelly and Sonny Condell have done, is to make it a very sing-along and catchy introduction that is a perfect driving-down-the-road song with a clapping and chugging rhythm section. Whitestone Bridge, which is located in the Bronx in New York, has this mellowing dark and hard-hitting atmosphere while the foot stomping Cinema pays more of a tribute to the All Around My Hat-era of Steeleye Span which featured a sample from Henry Fonda which was the early days of sampling.
Also, you have the acoustic duo without the driving sounds of the drums as Sonny and Leo lets the band members take a break as they take a nice relaxation on lukewarm pieces like: Fall of Day, In The Morning, The Wind Was High, and Teesside, which has this haunting and stunning melodic structures in the styles of the sessions for Trees' obscure classic, The Garden of Jane Delawney. Meanwhile, Love Lost, which has this Simon and Garfunkel feel, comes at you with a catchy and haunting sinister piece featuring some dramatic guitar and percussion beats that is fierce and powerful.
Most Magical is captivating. It features more of the acoustic guitar upbeats, powerful drum sounds, and the soulful electric piano work makes it a perfect enchanted story-telling song while the title track has an elevating and moving message on being who you are and staying strong and not let the others get you down and being free in the sun. The 6-minute bonus track, The Mountain and I, which features Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum on organ, has a very mythical prog-folk tale, and it's very raw and very strong.
A folk duo who were ahead of their time, will soon receive the recognition they deserve and where would they have gone into if they hadn't broke up.