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Although the first incarnation of Lankum was formed in the early 2000s, it was toward the end of the following decade that the Irish folk group’s punk-infused music became more widely known. The band was founded by brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch in Dublin, who set out primarily performing protest songs; they were later joined by Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. Originally known as Lynched, they changed their name to Lankum — which they lifted from the John Reilly, Jr. song “False Lankim” — in 2017 and signed with Rough Trade to release Between the Earth & Sky and its 2019 follow-up, The Livelong Day.
The group began life as a four-piece performing a mix of traditional songs alongside their own compositions with a distinctly folk-punk style, and they released their debut album, Where Did It All Go Wrong, in 2013. Although they continued to incorporate elements of punk, krautrock, psychedelia, and even drone, into their music, as the band progressed they further embraced traditional Irish music. Their sophomore record Cold Old Fire was released in 2014, and it illustrated their core sound, which was based on four-part harmonies with the inclusion of instrumentation like uilleann pipes, Russian accordion, and concertina. Their third record, Between the Earth & Sky, was released in 2017, through veteran U.K. indie Rough Trade, and was their first work under the name Lankum. Released two years later, The Livelong Day continued to explore traditional Irish roots elements as filtered through psychedelia and experimental folk. Amid the album’s original fare, Lankum offer an eerie and exploratory take on the classic folk song “The Wild Rover.” ~ Bekki Bemrose