Joy Shannon & The Beauty Marks – Mo Anam Cara

Rating: 4.5
Distributor/label: Independent
Released: 2014
Buy Album [URL]: https://joyshannonandthebeautymarks.bandcamp.com/album/mo-anam-cara-2
Band Website: http://www.joyshannonandthebeautymarks.com/

Band Lineup: Pic (1)

Joy Shannon,
Andy Zacharias,
Amelia Barron,
Daryl Hernandez,
Graham Spillman,
Axel Clarke,
Jon Zell,
Rachel Star Albright,
the Dovelles.

Tracklisting:

1. The Winds Of Hel
2. Samhain
3. Midwinter Ghost
4. Imbolc Invocation To Brighid
5. Ostara Blodeuwedd
6. The Fires Of Beltaine
7. Midsummer Witch Hunt
8. Lughnasadh Maeve (The One Who Intoxicates)
9. Finduilas
10. Mabon Airmid (Bring Back The Dead)

Review:

“Mo Anam Cara” is the latest offering from Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks, a celtic pagan folk band and the creative vehicle of the eponymous frontwoman. The album’s title means soulmate/spiritual guide in Irish, and it’s based on the ancient Celtic calendar and the various holidays and goddesses that surround each of them.

“The Winds of Hel” opens with some gentle harp sounds alongside some sombre cello, creating a magical yet sorrowful and ethereal atmosphere. These two instruments are the foundation of the album, defining its sound.

The music recreates scenes of ancient forests, with golden rays of light filtering through its rustling canopy and illuminating the moss covered floor as their shadows dance in the wind. It flows gently like delicate stream, one that’s always flowed. But something darker is out there, creeping up on the horizon. The days of bliss are about to end.

One of the highlights of the album is “Midwinter Ghost” with it’s gentle, emotional and melancholic flow. The multi-layered vocals really add to this effect and brilliantly convey the feelings of sorrow despair.

Each song is an intricately composed flower. The sounds are subtle and the music is often on the minimalistic side but it’s very effective. This is the kind of music that stands alone outside of time. It is universal, without era – neither sounding dated or too modern – and that’s part of its beauty.

In summary “Mo Anam Cara” is a darkly ethereal journey, one that is timeless.

Review by Jacob Ovington
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