Lisa O’Neill offers up her finest release to date with All of This is Chance. The Cavan native’s fifth album boasts an impressive variety of collaborators, from concertinist Cormac Begley, violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Kate Ellis of the Crash Ensemble, and more.
O’Neill’s timeless sound breathes new life into traditional balladry. Upon a foundation of droning harmoniums, concertinas, and violins, which create a sound akin to fellow trad revivalists Lankum, her haunting vocals sit, captivating her listeners and luring them into a state of transcendence. Here, tracks like ‘Birdie From Another Realm’ slip nimbly from the clutches of modernity, submerging the ear into the wild sublimity of an Ireland gone by.
O’Neill strives to capture and renew the wonders of the world, extracting the ethereal from the everyday through observational songwriting. Her lyricism features a colourful realism, yet remains elusive, allowing listeners to lift the veil and step into her vision if they choose to do so. Beginning with an intensity that dissipates slowly, the album strips itself further and further until all that remains is the final whistle of ‘Goodnight Moon’ where O’Neill, freed from poesy, closes another remarkable chapter in her catalog. Christine Costello