Screaming Orphans – Taproom

Album Review | Self Released | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

Right from the off, Taproom is an album that demands attention. Ireland’s “Hour of Need (Gallant Heroes)” has it all – arresting choir harmonies that put the Medieval Babes to shame, stirring Uilleann Pipes, tight production of the band’s instruments and a brawny political message. And the energy and captivation doesn’t let go for the ten remaining tracks, the majority of which affix Irish traditions to a strikingly modern and infectious pop/rock sound. Screaming Orphans is an all-female four-piece hailing proudly from County Donegal and consisting of sisters Joan Diver on drums and vocals, Angela Diver on bass, violin and vocals, Gráinne Diver on guitar and vocals and Marie Thérèse Diver on keys, accordion and vocals. It’s clear that some of the magic on this lively release comes directly from the fact that the band is family – indeed, they were originally joined by their parents before the call of the road became too loud – and, as with many similar outfits, much of the alchemy at play is founded in Celtic veins. Press the needle down too firmly on Taproom and it will bleed Irish blood, so evident in the music is the band’s heritage. Tracks such as the happy rambling “Home”, the brooding and rhythmic version of Patrick Joseph McCall’s “Follow Me up to Carlow” and the traditional “Paddy’s Lamentation” paint some stunning Irish landscapes whilst “Raithneach a Bhean Bheag” is sung entirely in the band’s native tongue. For the finale, however, the girls hop over to Scotland for a snappy little rendition of The Proclaimers’ anthem “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. With its heady mix of old Celtic magic and new sounds, it’s no wonder that Taproom is receiving rave reviews. The album has already topped the iTunes charts and was named Folk ‘n’ Rock Magazine’s 2017 folk/pop/rock album of the year.