Irish singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside continues on his journey from strength to strength with the release of his chilling new single ‘A Man Of High Renown,’ ahead of his new EP ‘All Round The Light Said.’ Like a cross between a sea shanty and a Celtic battle march, this bog gothic ballad sees Burnside use vernacular vocals positively laden with emotion to create a musical tale that has a palpable sense of tradition.
Opening with what can be mistaken for a joyful ditty, the song quickly breaks rank with the air organs bestowing an almost religious sense of dread and weight. Like every great Irish traditional tune, you can almost feel the eeriness and unease. Opening lyrics speak of ghosts and bruised knees, marking the beginning of a curious link between Burnside’s childhood memories and the darker themes of the song. This malice tinged nostalgia serves as one of the most vocal points of the song, with memories of ‘eyes all black’ and a ‘rash down your back.’ The forlorn drone of the accordion blends with the rhythmic grimace of the percussion section, conferring a sense of impending doom as we are carried relentlessly through the verses of ‘A Man of high Renown,’ just as the protagonists of the song have no choice but the capitulate to the slow march of time and darkness that Burnside so passionately vocalises. The fusion of both the striking cry the plucked strings and the constant strumming of the acoustic section creates an almost hypnotic effect, as listens have no choice but to be magnetised by its allure.
A fantastic single for what is sure to be a fantastic EP, Burnside has once again demonstrated why he is one of the best bards in the country. If ‘A Man of high Renown’ is any indication of what is to come, then we are in for a treat.