Review of Look Over the Wall, See the Sky by John Francis Flynn: A Nostalgic Blast from the Past.


John Francis Flynn, a well-known singer in the traditional music scene of Dublin’s pubs, gained widespread praise for his debut album, I Would Not Live Always, which was released in 2021. The album’s unique blend of elements such as guitar, fiddle, synth, and tape loops, gave a fresh twist to old ballads and showcased Flynn’s powerful vocals. For his second album, Flynn once again collaborated with producer Brendan Jenkinson, resulting in a fearless exploration of boundaries. The tracks feature a mix of growling guitars, haunting drones, and distorted electronica, with familiar songs like Within a Mile of Dublin taking on a new industrial sound with the addition of penny whistle. Even older songs like Mole in the Ground, recorded in the 1920s and later covered by Bob Dylan, are given a gritty makeover.

Kitty, who is most famous for being part of the Pogues, remains calm and tranquil. Meanwhile, Willie Crotty, a story from the 18th century about a Waterford criminal, is overwhelmed by a chaotic barrage of noise. Two songs by Ewan MacColl receive a more straightforward approach and stand out as the strongest. The Lag Song beautifully captures the intense feeling of time passing in prison, while Dirty Old Town defies its well-known status with a delicate, romantic singing style and subtle brass accompaniment. This album is unpredictable but has an impressively bold vision.


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