After years of performing with The Frames, Colm Mac Con Iomaire is renowned for his violin/fiddle playing. He is no doubt hoping that the band's notoriously loyal fan base will result in healthy album sales for his debut solo album 'The Hare's Corner' or 'Cúinne an Ghiorria'.
The album opens with the effortlessly cool and beautiful 'Time Will Tell', instantly you know this one is different. It’s a warm, inviting sound, a perfect soundtrack to the perfect arthouse film. It would be an ideal accompaniment to parts of Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild' or 'Once', the film starring and scored by Mac Con Iomaire's Frames friends, The Swell Season's Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.
However, without a visual context, the tracks are in danger of bleeding into one another, with little to distinguish them.
The bilingual album sleeve would lead you to believe that there's a Kíla-esque bilingual gem hidden inside. However, most of the tracks, bar the last one, are instrumental.
While it might be lacking in lyrics, the music clearly offers a trad-meets-modern-world style. The Kíla influence is a warm reminder of Mac Con Iomaire's time with the band, when he helped form the Irish group while at school in Coláiste Eoin. Another former member of the band, Karl Odlum, produced this album, reinforcing the haunting Kíla folk feel.
Born into an Irish-speaking family, Mac Con Iomaire wants to keep the language alive. He does this with the album's title 'Cúinne an Ghiorria' or ‘The Hare’s Corner’, which comes from the ancient Irish custom of leaving a corner of a field uncut for the hare to escape to during harvest time. Irish language activist Máirtín Ó Cadhain identified the Gaeltachtaí as being like the "Hare's Corner of Ireland". A beautiful image that is transferred into the seductive music.
The only partly spoken track is 'Beaten Wings' ,which features the voice of a young child, speaking as gaeilge - a nice touch.
Mac Con Iomaire took a year off college in 1990 to join The Frames and 18 years later is still with the band. If he recorded this original debut album in just two weeks, I'd be excited to see a) what he could do with a couple more and b) if some clever filmmaker creates a film to accompany this yearning soundtrack.