Before There Was Air is only the band’s third album in two decades, but that mirrors the stately pace of their music. Set for release this September, Before There Was Air sees Boa Morte infuse their brand of slow-burning, alternative folk with elements of electronic, ambient and new-classical music. The album was recorded last year at Herbert Place Studios, with James Darkin at the desk. To fully capture the subtleties of the band’s quiet dynamic, Darkin installed them in the same room with the mics opened wide. The basic tracks were then layered with analogue synths, drones, piano, wind, strings and effects. This distinctive compositional and textural mix prompted both London’s Gare Du Nord Records and Tremolo Publishing to sign the band this year.

Boa Morte formed in Cork, Ireland in 1998, rising from the dust of a couple of ragged but respected indie bands. By the end of that year, the band released their Passenger, Measure Your Time debut EP, produced by Mark Carolan. That record sparked significant record label interest, culminating in the band signing to US label Moodfood Records, home of Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown.

The debut album was produced by Daniel Presley, well respected for his work with Spain and The Breeders. But just before the scheduled release date, Moodfood went bankrupt. It took the band (and their lawyers) until 2002 to recover the tapes.

In stepped Shoeshine Records, the Glasgow imprint run by Teenage Fanclub drummer Francis MacDonald. In July 2002, Soon It Will Come Time To Face The World Outside, Boa Morte’s debut album, was released to widespread critical acclaim. Those impressed by the record included Uncut, Mojo, Q Magazine and John Peel. The band toured throughout Ireland and the UK with the likes of Teenage Fanclub and Calexico.

Boa Morte’s second album, The Dial Waltz (2009) followed a similar aesthetic and was equally well-received, Q magazine hailing the record as a “supremely elegant sound-track for staring into your half-empty pint.” 

But now the glass is full again. You can hear a decade of listening on Before There Was Air, a record that distils broad musical influences to enhance their singular, tuneful avant-folk, while remaining distinctly Boa Morte.

Live Dates:

Saturday October 19 – The Roundy, Cork

Thursday October 24 – Barbello, Dublin