It’s often said that some things in life are worth waiting for. That much is true if you are a fan of The Mollags band.
They have just released their second album, Afloat, a mere 18 years ago after they released their debut, Into The Tide, way back in the mists of the 1990s.
The Mollags are based in Peel and feature a readily identifiable sound largely thanks to the vocal interplay between singer/songwriter/guitarist Greg Joughin and the backing trio of Hillary Gale, who also plays viola, Julie Matthews and Sarah Hewson, who both also add flutes and whistles into the mix. They are backed up by Dave McLean on bass, Caly Roberts on harp, Russell Cowin on djembe, Anglin Buttimore on keyboards and Gordon McKenzie on the drums.
Many of the songs on Afloat have been staples of The Mollags’ live set for many years now, such as Unwritten Will, formerly titled Sellafield, Arrane Ny Fee or S’liack Lhiam Bine Dy Yough, and will be very familiar to those who follow The Mollags.
The newer material fits in well alongside it, such as Hango Hill, a haunting vocal solo about the execution of Illiam Dhone. Elsewhere there are some re-workings of traditional songs, such as Graih My Chree, and Finn As Oshin, both done in typical Mollags’ style.
It is a very slick, well crafted body of work and, on the basis of the song-craft and the sheer scope of invention, creativity and the amount of influences on show, makes this an album that is definitely worthy of a listen.
‘We’re quite happy in the way it’s turned out,’ said Greg Joughin. ‘We’ve spent the last two years working on it. It’s a mix of some new stuff and some old stuff that we’ve been playing for a few years. There are songs of social and political comment, love songs, songs about every day occurrences, there are a few tunes in there. A mixture of all sorts of influences in there, from folk and rock, a bit of classical maybe, a bit of jazz. So it’s a mixed bag.’
But with the songs having been played live for a many a year now, the question had to be asked. Why so long?
‘I don’t know really,’ laughed Greg. ‘When we started working on it, a couple of years ago, I said to Hillary [Gale] it must be a couple of years since the last one. She said in actual fact it’s been 18! I thought “Oh Blimey!”
‘I don’t know. I think we’re just a bit slack, a bit traa dy liooar I suppose!’
However, Greg couldn’t say whether or not it would be another 18 years until the next one.
‘Hopefully not. The last one was called Into the Tide, this one is called Afloat. So maybe the next will be called All Washed Up, or something like that.’
The Mollags will take themselves and the new album to the Lorient festival, the Gaelic music and culture festival held in Brittany.
For details on how to get hold of a copy of their album visit their Facebook page.