Sounds Out: John Francis Flynn – Look Over the Wall, See the Sky.


Posted 6 months ago in Music Reviews

When John Francis Flynn announced himself with 2021’s I Would Not Live Always, the country’s domestic musical milieu responded with appropriate enthusiasm. Flynn’s debut felt like a blueprint of the percolating experimentalism which had characterised the apparent reappraisal of traditional song in the popular consciousness and rise of his contemporaries to the place of cultural supplement year end list stalwarts.

Looking back, post Look Over the Wall, See the Sky, Flynn’s debut – though a gem of rare lustre in its own right – feels positively embryonic by comparison to the heady, exploratory reinterpretations that populate his bracingly singular, revelatory sophomore release.

Traditional music by definition concerns itself with bringing the then into the now but there’s a rare alchemy at work here which somehow makes you feel as if there’s no meaningful difference between the two. Certainly not one worth focussing on when you’re too busy being brought to a point of near levitation by the sound of a treated tin whistle battling a wall of writhing static.

Through the liberal yet artful application of the undulating atmospherics associated with free jazz, ambient music, and kraut rock, Flynn and co appear to relish in finding new ways to transmute the earthbound into the celestial. Ultimately arriving at a place where these eight cuts no longer feel linked to something like a specific time or place here on earth but the constellations overhead; the warmth of sun against the back of one’s neck or in the space where the wind finds its way between where your scarf meets your overcoat.

Words: Danny Wilson

John Francis Flynn – Look Over the Wall, See the Sky.

[River Lea Recordings]

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