On Draught is one of the most creative efforts to have come out this year. This band is, quite literally, a melting pot, incorporating various European folk styles with a bunch of choice and unusual instruments adding to the richness of the sound, its feel and texture. Marka (Lithuania) plays the Cajon (a percussion instrument they picked up from the Americas) next to Philip Staunton’s elaborate drum kit, which is replete with a shaker, and something close to a dafli. One also often offhandedly finds him fishing for newer instruments (The dhol seemed to be his latest infatuation at the time of their IIT Kanpur appearance, owing to the Nukkad performances that left him hypnotized in spurts); as he himself put it “I’m a culture vulture”. There’s Bogus (Poland), on guitar, and once upon a time there was Vaclav on mandolin, who said he always felt like a mute fish in Ireland as he couldn’t speak any English, then left the band (with a name for them, all dues paid) and in turn Tomas (Lithuania), the bass player, completed the pentathlon.
Daithi’s breathtaking flute solos remain prominent throughout the album, along with drum and bass, e-guitars and button accordion, ‘The Congress Reel’ is a rich infusion of carefully delicate reggae, and slow flute sounds, ‘Gypsies on the Moon’ has overtones of jazz, leaving us with a very crisp idea of what is to come. They sound like everything we know and love, ranging from Ska, folk (very obviously) to reggae/dub. ‘Bon Shanson’ is stroll along the circumference of the globe, and ‘De la Ferma’ is undoubtedly my favorite track on the album; its hypnotic pace in a Breton-dance rhythm slowly building up to a gas burst leaving me hooked till the very end. Speaking of hooks, there are plenty of catchy ones. ‘Wellies in the Air’ has an up-tempo feel, with a prominent mandolin and accordion, bringing one closer to the ska groove apparatus.
Some crazy street folk coming your way, they are also at the same time reminiscent of Jami Sieber and Shira Kammen, the co-artists on the Braid soundtrack, wasn’t that beautiful? Prep yourselves for these guys. The album is beautiful.