Named after a poem about a haunted canal lock, The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock match Irish folk and traditional sounds with more modern experimental rock sounds. With the release of their new album The Brutal Here and Now they have refined their craft, creating melodic folk rock with with a dark, modern feel. They veer away from their peers in tracing a line from the Irish 60’s folk revival through progressive, kraut and post rock.
Lyrically springing from English and Irish folk song, the compositions deal with complex themes of personal and national identity, alienation, Irish history and mythology, revolution and the cynical cyclical nature of greed and power. Live they are a powerful five-piece, overlaying intricate folk melodies with swirling squalls of feedback, delay and soaring three-part harmonies.
First coming together in Dublin in late 2005, the band was formed by Allen Blighe with the aim of writing songs in the idiom of Irish folk. Gathering friends Enda Bates, Donnchadh Hoey and Brian O’Higgins the band recorded their self-titled debut which was released on Transduction Records in 2008. Since then they have played all over Ireland and Japan. After recruiting fifth member Ronan Hayes they have returned with their sophmore album The Brutal Here and Now in 2012, which widened their sonic palette, taking in Italian and Indian folk influences and sees them singing in English, Irish and Italian.
“There are melodic echoes of Planxty or the Dubliners here, but matched against a blitz of guitar rock and feedback and a delight in the unexpected…one of the Irish albums of the year” **** – The Guardian
“The Brutal Here and Now is utterly spell-binding…potential Irish album of the year” – Hot Press
“The most inventive, audacious and barnstorming Irish album of 2012…brazen, blazing and brilliant” – The Irish Times
“One of the more intriguing bands delving into the spiritual backwaters of alternative folk.” **** – Mojo
“Ireland’s own Flaming Horslips…sets you jigging, sends you reeling” 7/10 – Uncut
“A spirited attempt at reimagining old music for a new age” – Q
“Powerful and defiantly unique” – Entertainment.ie
“Ireland’s finest example of a modern trad band” – Nialler 9
“This richly rewarding album suggests the spiritual heirs to Planxty and Horslips may have finally been found” – Sunday Business Post