The album opens up with “Evonium” and once again the band highlights their appreciation and interest in history, stories of old and Celtic heritage, as the word is the name of a purported ancient city, which is said to have stood where Irvine is now. The track itself is initially really quite jovial and up-beat, combining light riffs, subtle poly-rhythms and a bright, bubbly piano lead, while vocally PJ harbours a clean, emotive indie-rock tone. The swift key-changes and solo flurry emphasise the bands love of prog however, and it all combines to create one genuinely interesting track. “Event Without Experience” follows up and while continuing with the up-tempo approach they’ve opted for a more guitar-driven track here; it’s sounding that much grittier and ever so slightly more chaotic, though it’s not heavy.
The first real album highlight however comes courtesy of “Brewing Of Ale” (Of course I like the track that in some way shape or form involves alcohol)…starting life as a sweet little acoustic number it soon evolves into a fully-fledged folk-rock ballad, and although still housing those prog-elements it’s the folk qualities that shine through, especially with the prominence of the Scottish accent here; it’s delivered wonderfully. “All Reverie” continues the feel-good factor with a more simplified, melodic pop-rock number and it’s just an enjoyable, easy-listening effort, which can also be said for “Aegis”. Generally more of the same; but ever so slightly more pop-punk in tone, giving it that ever so subtle edge…it’s another stand-out track.
There are some solid funk-elements incorporated into “Man Alive” adding extra flavour to their fundamentally prog-approach but that, along with the solo and the seven minute plus run time, means this one does come across as a little indulgent in places. The title track practically echoes its own name; essentially describing the entire known inhabited land mass, meaning Ecumene sadly seems to go on forever, sounding mostly sluggish throughout, before we eventually finish up doing a bit of shopping back in Cardiff. I jest; “Queen Street” closes proceedings with another folk-inspired acoustic-led ballad…quaint but anti-climactic. Overall mind you, it’s easy to see why Culann hit the ground running following their formation; with a knack for a clean melody, lyrical storytelling and well-executed instrumentation, it certainly seems unjust that they’re still currently unsigned. Prog-rock IS more of an acquired taste, just like the aforementioned haggis, but it’s certainly worth a try…