It's often hard to analyse instrumental albums. By its very nature, lyric-less music relies on the listener's own personal interpretation, and what you take from a certain swell of strings, or hypnotic pummel of a drum may not be in accordance with anyone else's conclusion. Perhaps that's what makes albums like The Hare's Corner all the more noteworthy, though - albums that effortlessly create the oxymoron of music that subtly resonates.
Dublin Gaeilgeoir Colm Mac Con Iomaire, who began his band career with trad-fusion band Kila before opting to join ubiquitous rockers The Frames, knows all about subtlety. It's usually his deft additions to Frames songs that lighten Hansard's penchant for self-indulgence, and his first solo album expands on that talent to create a wistful, often beautiful trad record.
A talented violinist, Mac Con Iomaire's compositions venture between soft, poignant arrangements that brim with a glowing optimism (Time Will Tell, Emer's Dream) and sharper, more melancholic numbers that will either get your toe tapping (Second Wave) or your brow furrowing (Blue Shoes, and sweeping, atmospheric offering The Red Road). Yet even on the slightly more grandiose numbers (although 'grandiose' is certainly pushing it) like the willowy, almost sinister Thou Shalt Not Carry Timber, there's no sense of pretension or excess instrumentation.
"The phrase 'the hare's corner' comes from the ancient Irish custom of leaving a corner of a field uncut at harvest time, as a refuge for the hare to escape to," Mac Con Iomaire explains. There's no need for a get-out clause on this assured, beautifully-crafted album.