The music industry is going through an overhaul, a revolution. The dream of landing that record deal has been lost in the morning light as musicians and bands now compete amongst each other to be heard above the din of fund it campaigns and independent album launches. How do they now reclaim their art and control over this spiraling situation? They embrace it of course and use it as any other tool available to them.
That’s what Cork band The Hard Ground have done with their “Triptych” project. The year long project saw the band seek finance through a fund it campaign. Then inspired by the Triptych art concept, they planned to then write, record, and release three EP’s. The themes and writing evolving in real time as the year progressed. This has seen the release of ‘Triptych: 1’ and ‘Triptych: 2’ to date, both receiving national airplay and critical acclaim across the board. On April 10th we will finally hold in our hands the third side, the final part, the finished product.
‘Triptych: 3’ will appear and be released as the band’s second album “Triptych”, encompassing all three EPs. You can read reviews for ‘Triptych: 1’ and ‘Triptych: 2’ here https://musician.ie/hard-ground-triptych-1-ep/ and here https://musician.ie/hard-ground-triptych-two-ep/. The album tracklist continues with the timeline opening in order from the first and second EPs. ‘Triptych: 3’ starts at track 9 with ‘Pucker’ a confident, sexy track reminiscent of ‘Belles and Beaux’ from ‘T:1’. ‘Winter’ by contrast is vulnerable. We have the contrasting vocals from Marlene and Pat, the backing choir, piano and reverb on guitar. They must have been watching “Twin Peaks” at the time because there is a reference to the theme tune in the middle. ‘Young’ is a return to the Americana theme seen on ‘Capon’ on ‘T: 2’. It is somehow richer this time round with the incorporation of that reverb guitar. Here we find the essence of ‘Triptych: 3’, the melding of genres first visited on the previous two outings. The first half of ‘On The Never’ is tender and playful with a call and response between Pat and Marlene. It is about half way when the track opens up and delivers some 70’s inspired vibes and guitar rock we heard ‘Ashes’ from ‘T: 1’. Here Pat gets to channel Bowie and his cohorts on this swaggering number. The production is clever in its reflection of the mood at different points of the track. It falls back into the balmy refrain “we’ll see you on the never”.
The album closes with its swan song, “Short Song”. Throughout the Triptych project we have seen many different sides of The Hard Ground and their two vocalists Pat and Marlene. From fragile and grave, to sassy and rowdy. On “Short Song” we find them contemplative. On life? On their journey? It certainly seems to be commentary on something. “Memories of good times gone and lessons learned or lessons burned.”It is their reflections of the past year and the conclusions they have met. It is tender and intimate and exactly where the band wants to be at this moment in time with their listener. The entire “Triptych” project was to draw the audience into the workings of the band and to bring them into the writing and recording experience. “Short Song” is neither short in length or sentiment and ties “Triptych” together.
‘Pucker’ is the first single from the album and will be released March 13th.
The Hard Ground release “Triptych” April 10th. They will officially launch the album with two gigs. The first May 7th in The Odessa Club, Dublin. The second, May 8th in The Pavilion, Cork. These will be followed by an Irish Tour. Keep an eye here http://www.thehardground.com/#!live/c1kic for more dates.