He may look like a small hobbit peeking out from under a magic toadstall in Harry Potter’s back garden, but Fionn Regan is a mighty scene on the modern folk landscape. His voice evokes a young optimist sitting under a tree and watching the world wasting in front of him. His music doesn’t usually carry many instruments, but still sounds strangely robust and muscular. Once you’ve heard it a couple of times, bits of song will haunt your day until it forces you to listen to the whole of ‘The End of History’ all over again: bits like the charmingly confusing “I’ll wear you like a hood” chorus in ‘The Underwood Typewriter’, the urgently flowing ‘Hunter’s Map’ or the paranoid camp-fire lament ‘Black Water Child’. It’s surprising what imagery he evokes with basic instruments like the spine-refrigerating ‘Snowy Atlas Mountains’ which is as subtly haunting as it is weirdly stark (“My jumper is soaked in pig’s blood”?) and sounds like a short film of its title. The lyrics are often muddled and cryptic, but still singable and his meaning is always clear through delivery alone.
It’s the details that make this record so strong; it knows exactly when to sound bare bones, and when to fill a room like a flood and unlike Mumford & Sons’ debut, it feels inhabited and never over-polished.