Johnny Flynn, Sillion

Folk singer and songwriter Johnny Flynn has recently released his fourth album Sillion.

By Jane Howkins.

   Sillion is the long awaited fourth release by folk singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn, who first came to prominence during the alternative folk movement at the end of the last decade, championed by acts such as Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, and Noah & The Whale. Flynn always came across as a little more genuine and folksy than some of the other artists from the London based movement, so it’s a shame that he has also been the least well-known act from the group.

Hopefully, that may all change with Sillion. This is typical Flynn music, but like with each of his previous releases, there’s a push forward onto pastures anew. He still plays folk music with a more traditional bent to it than those aforementioned acts from the same scene, but this time round there’s what sounds like a 60s influence, adding a somewhat unexpected feel to the album. The rhythm section of Wandering Aengus has a very 60s vibe to it, with an almost old motown feel to it. It’s a hard thing to describe, but you’ll understand what we mean when you listen to it.

There aren’t that many tracks that will immediately draw you in like on Flynn’s previous records, but that’s actually to the listeners benefit, as Sillion slowly pulls you in over time, until you’re utterly submerged in the beautiful tunes Flynn has written. Try listening to Raising The Dead without having a bittersweet grin play across your lips as that chorus hits you, or Barleycorn (a modern version of the old folk song John Barleycorn) without feeling that eerie wall of tension hit you. It’s a very evocative record, and this is to Flynn’s credit, and it’s also very hard to listen to without imagining certain rural, almost pagan images in your head.

On Sillion, Johnny Flynn has managed to meld the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, and he has been largely successful in this. It’s a fascinating album, and one that will continue to open itself up to listeners over the coming years. Hopefully it won’t be another four until we get Flynn’s next offering!