Named after a poem about a haunted canal lock, The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock are an experimental folk-rock band based in Dublin, Ireland. They veer away from their peers in tracing a line from the Irish 60’s folk revival through progressive, kraut and post rock.
Lyrically springing from English and Irish folk song, the compositions deal with complex themes of personal and national identity, alienation, Irish history and mythology, revolution and the cynical cyclical nature of greed and power. Live they are a powerful five-piece, overlaying intricate folk melodies with swirling squalls of feedback, delay and soaring three-part harmonies.
First coming together in Dublin in late 2005, the band was formed by Allen Blighe with the aim of writing songs in the idiom of Irish folk. Gathering friends Enda Bates, Donnchadh Hoey and Brian O’Higgins the band recorded their self-titled debut which was released on Transduction Records in 2008. Since then they have played all over Ireland and Japan, Europe and the US.
After recruiting fifth member Ronan Hayes they released their second album The Brutal Here and Now in 2012, which widened their sonic palette, taking in Italian and Indian folk influences and sees them singing in English, Irish and Italian.
In 2014, the band debuted their large-scale work Lockout about the 1913 Dublin Lockout at an open rehearsal in Dublin. For this project the band are joined by an electric guitar orchestra, bringing the unique sound defined by composers such as Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham into the world of contemporary Irish traditional music.
Lockout is a grand departure for the The Spook, adding epic volume and scale to the band’s blend of contemporary and traditional sounds and a sharper, more political voice which addresses the recent anniversary of the Lockout, and its relevance today. A studio album of Lockout will be released on Transduction in early 2017.