John Francis Flynn’s review of “Look Over the Wall, See the Sky” is a nostalgic blast from the past.


John Francis Flynn, a well-known singer in Dublin’s pub scene, gained critical acclaim with the release of his first album of 2021, titled I Would Not Live Always. The album’s unconventional approach, combining traditional ballads with modern arrangements of guitar, fiddle, synth, and tape loops, captivated listeners while showcasing Flynn’s powerful vocals. For his second album, Flynn once again collaborates with producer Brendan Jenkinson, pushing the boundaries even further. The songs on this album are immersed in layers of intense guitars and eerie electronic sounds, transforming familiar tunes into a new and edgy experience. Even beloved reels like “Within a Mile of Dublin” take on an industrial edge with the addition of a penny whistle. And in “Mole in the Ground,” a song from the 1920s famously covered by Bob Dylan, Flynn delivers a gritty and distorted rendition.

Kitty, famous for being a member of the Pogues, maintains a calm and peaceful demeanor, while Willie Crotty, a story from the 1700s about a renegade from Waterford, is trapped in a chaotic cacophony. Two songs by Ewan MacColl are given a simpler rendition and stand out the most. The Lag Song captures the intense feeling of being confined in prison, while Dirty Old Town overcomes its familiar reputation with a gentle and romantic singing style and a subtle accompaniment of brass instruments. This album is unpredictable but showcases a brave and ambitious artistic perspective.