RADIO PROMOTION BY ART MENIUS RADIO
When the pandemic swept in to slow down life, Wolf & Clover found their plans for a new album would just have to fit with this radical change to everyday activities and expectations. These pedigreed players had the kind of passion required to make sure that nothing would be rushed, and rushed it was not. The do-it-right-or-not-at-all ethos runs right through the very core of the band. The new album, entitled Twelvemonth and a Day, could quite easily have been renamed “Two Years and More (in the Making).” It's clear from the get-go that the six-piece ensemble has taken great delight in expanding on its 2018 self-titled album and the follow-up from 2020, Live at the Silvan Sessions.
Wolf & Clover was forged in the classical tradition, but they are not afraid to branch out, take risks, and flex their inventive muscles. On Twelvemonth, we find them in equal measures playful and serious. The main thread weaving through all eleven tracks is Celtic - it's the common bond that they all share.
The disc leans heavily on material composed by contemporary writers, including Michael Duggar, PJ Monserrat, Peadar Ó Riada, Dave Panting, Niall Vallely, and Simon Ager. But the tune sets very much break with tradition, often combining slow airs with jigs and reels into narrative pieces that are both exhilarating and intriguing. The band members come from interesting and mixed musical backgrounds, each of them having specialized in different areas. Multi-instrumentalist Matthew McCabe candidly concedes that “we're a weird bunch!”
So, all of them bring something very different to the table, serving up the Wolf & Clover feast, treating us to a smorgasbord of sounds and styles. Purists might question their treatment of “The Unquiet Grave,” where the mournful tone is given an added layer of gravitas by the Hammond organ. This only serves to underline their willingness to venture beyond any boundaries or restraint that might be employed by others less adventuresome.
Whenever they play it straight, you are left in no doubt about the intent. “The Whistle Set,” for instance, is as jaunty and invigorating as you'll hear. “The Suitor Set” opens with a distinctly Gallic flavor, then it sweeps effortlessly into the kind of refrain of longing that you might hear wafting on the breeze in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. “The Bedroom Set,” on the other hand, finds them combining melodies enthusiastically for a musical romp which turns into a mighty, at times fantastic cacophony reminiscent of the back rooms of Budapest. Then, just when you think you might finally have a grasp on all that Wolf & Clover can render, they give us a delightful rendition of “An Eriskay Love Lilt” and deliver a stunning version of Van Morrison's “Into The Mystic.”