Genre/Influences: Ethereal, goth-folk, cinematographic.
Content: Joy Shannon And The Beauty Marks took us by surprise some 2 years ago now with the outstanding “Oracle”-album. Joy Shannon is a real talented Irish multi-instrumentalist who’s playing Celtic harp, cello and harmonium. She also sings in an ethereal way.
I’m not familiar with the early work of this band, but “Oracle” was a kind of revelation for its global artistic beauty and creativity. “No Anam Cara” is the 6th full length by Joy Shannon who got some help from several guest musicians. The work has been defined in very different ways, but I think we might speak about a mix of heavenly voices, goth and folk plus a sensitive cinematographic approach. The main inspiration behind this fascinating sound mixture appears to be Pagan themes so in the end we might speak about a real open-minded and eclectic band.
“The Winds Of Hel” sounds like a sweet and tender musical caress carried by captivating en evasive vocals. “Samhan” coming next sounds a bit different and definitely darker in style. The cello injects a kind of freaky and somewhat ‘haunted-house’ touch to the work. But the fusion of Joy Shannon’s harp and beautiful vocals rapidly bring us back to pure evasive passages like the brilliant “Midwinter Ghost” and the passionate “Midsummer Witch Hunt.” Some of the songs make me think of a kind of cabaret performance while “The Fires Of Beltaine” is more into a cinematographic approach. I here like the kind of elegy emerging to the surface while the female backing vocals inject some extra volume.
The harp definitely is the main instrument of this work creating the unique sound of this artist, but the guitar also is a very essential ingredient. I like the very special way of playing the guitar which has been mixed more in the background. It sounds a bit experimental and at the same time adding a kind of obscure touch in the background. The only regret I have is that I would have liked to hear some more cello parts, which is probably because it’s one of my personal favorite instruments. The album however ends in a kind of sad reverie style with the great cello parts on “Mabon: Airmid Bring Back the Dead”.
Conclusion: Joy Shannon is a very talented multiple-instrument artist. “Mo Anam Cara” sounds like pure sound poetry and is a beautiful sound trip, which I can only but highly recommend.
Best songs: “Midwinter Ghost”, “Midsummer witch Hunt”, “The Winds Of Hell”, “Mabon: Airmid Bring Back the Dead”.
Rate: (Elise Din:8)Elise Din.
Band: www.joyshannonandthebeautymarks.com / www.facebook.com/JoyShannonandtheBeautyMarks