Album Review: Talisk, ‘Dawn’

The Scottish folk band Talisk—Mohsen Amini on concertina and synth, Graeme Armstrong on guitars, Benedict Morris on fiddle and strings—rises over the horizon like the blazing rays of the sun, illuminating the entire sky with an aura of warmth that at once promises peace and comfort.

The tunes on their newest album, Dawn, carry us from the brilliance of the aura of light just before sunrise through the crackling moments of dawn and into the light of day before an interlude catches the winds of the storms and darkness that too often blot out the light. On their earlier albums, the band explored the Abyss (2016) and moved Beyond (2018) now to the Dawn; each album dazzles with a sonic metaphysics that both swirls with frenetic physicality and transports with mounting ethereality.

The album dawns with the whirling “Aura,” a Celtic reel masquerading as a tarantella, driven by Amini’s rousing concertina that plays the tune’s central line over and over as Armstrong’s guitar and Morris’ fiddle dance gaily around and under it. The dashing tune darts and bobs with a rousing abandon, evoking the hope and energy of a new day that comes with the dawn.

The aptly titled “Surya”—the sun and also the Hindu solar deity—builds steadily on the repeated musical lines of “Aura” as light and heat flood into the morning sky; the first measures of the tune move more gently, but the tune soon picks up tempo and jauntily races off in a celebration of energy. The tune slows down momentarily in a reflection on the promise of a new day before racing off again to scurry hither and yon through the many little activities that fill the voids of time.

The winsome “The Light of Day” moves at a more leisurely pace—repeating the same thematic lines from “Aura” and “Surya”—basking in the warmth and fullness of a new diurnal journey, while “Storm” opens sedately, mimicking the quiet before the winds blow and the rains come; the tune develops quickly into a tempestuous, twirling reel that lives up to its title.

Talisk is a power trad folk band; imagine for a moment the Jimi Hendrix Experience devoting themselves to Scottish trad folk and Celtic traditional music, and you have Talisk. Dawn shines with a fierce luminosity, carrying us on a journey of discovery and revealing to us the glimmers of light that infuse us with energy and fill us with hope.


Dawn is available HERE.



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