Fia Rua ‘The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High’ – Review
Originally from Kildare, Eoghan Burke has made Galway his home and on his third album under his Fia Rua moniker, The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High, Burke delivers sharp vignettes of life in his adopted county.
When an artist decides to stick to a sparse musical template, mainly featuring drums, bass and acoustic guitar, then it is imperative that they have something worth saying and fortunately Burke does indeed have something to say, with his poetic lyrics standing out over his brand of folky punk.
This is immediately apparent in the opening track River Gort, a hoedown embellished by violins that meanders like a river courtesy of Burke’s evocative words. Baby I’m A Liar is a bit more lively and the refrain of”‘Baby I’m a liar, bad buzz, bad buzz,” is an earworm that will take up residence and take a Zippo to any eviction notices that it may be served.
When Mark Met Tom is a comforting story of two old friends catching up over a few pints while Ye Can’t Be Sane is an up tempo meditation on life’s big unanswered questions.
While this is mainly a fine album, there are a couple of tracks that miss the mark. Hard To Be A Man and The Waves Are Gonna Take Your Sons pass by without making much of an impression but on the credit side Long Weekend (Galway Town) is a beautiful song about escaping the excess of a long weekend’s excess on the West Coast while Darkness is the best song on the album. A brooding, strummed intro heralds some dark, melancholic lyrics that make for uncomfortable yet compelling listening. It’s an incredibly beautiful, thought-provoking song that demands repeated listens.
The album’s closer Bohemian Rednecks is also pretty impressive. Taking aim at those arty types that spend their time incessantly rambling on about their “hopes and dreams and talking shite, 3am on a Thursday night,” it’s a scene that many of us can identify with and the addition of bongos in the arrangement add a subversive element of pastiche to the tune.
While Fia Rua’s vocal delivery and generally colloquial subject matter mean that he will not appeal to everyone, there is much to admire in this album and this artist who seems determined to do things on his own terms while infusing a refreshing honesty in to his work.