Titled after this concept of bright bravery, Misneach, is the third full-length from Irish progressive, neo folk collective Tau & the Drones of Praise.
Following behind 2016’s Tau Tau Tau and 2019’s self-titled, as well as 2020’s widely acclaimed Seanóirí Naofa EP, it is a next-stage realization of the world-folk vision of principal songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Seán Mulrooney, whose travels invariably inform the songs being written.
That’s nothing new for Tau, now officially Tau & the Drones of Praise, which has in the past engaged with folk traditions stemming from Mulrooney’s Irish homeland as well weaving in the teachings of the indigenous first nations people from Turtle Island, the continent of America. Recorded like its predecessors mostly in Berlin at Impression Studios by Robbie Moore, who also plays in the main four-piece studio lineup with Mulrooney, Earl Harvin (Tindersticks) and Iain Faulkner (who helmed additional recording in Dublin at Sonic Studios), Misneach is nonetheless the boldest and farthest-reaching work Tau & the Drones of Praise have done, stepping beyond expectation born of their past and into a reimagined future of interaction with the natural world within and outside ourselves.
Make no mistake, Misneach is a homecoming for Mulrooney, who, even as the arrangement of opener “It’s Right to Give Drones and Praise” seems to reference Screamadelica-era Primal Scream, establishes Ireland as the backdrop on which the songs are built. In the hands of Mulrooney and the company he keeps – there are no fewer than 16 guests featured; Robbie Moore calls it “adding to the party” while they’re in the studio – the underlying interwovenness of the organically creative is laid bare. Cultures, languages, gods tie together. In terms of perspective, it can be no coincidence that the first words on Misneach are “I am the tree,” and the last is “hope” in the song of the same name. It is “ón chré,” coming from the land and more.
Quite a party, as Moore would have it. And the party is beautiful. Not blind to past woes – the trees in “It is Right to Give Drones and Praise” have been cut to do the Queen’s dirty work building warships – but daring to move forward and express joy. The party is celebrating existence, cleansing itself and letting you know it’s okay to be angry, but it’s okay to let go since resenting each other and creation is futile anyway. The party is Misneach.