It’s already been a pretty good year for Cork group The Hard Ground, thanks to their successful Fund It campaign. The crowdfunding drive was to help them release their second album Triptych, the follow-up to 2012’s Broken Conversations. As the name suggests, the album is coming in three parts or, to be more precise, three EPs, released over the course of 2014 and culminating in a full length album. The first EP showcases the Hard Ground’s myriad styles, from country to pop to classic rock. Proceedings open slowly with the edgy ‘Belles and Beaux’ before ‘Ashes’ sees them indulge in some big riffs – it instantly sounds like it’s going to be a live favourite. Two By Two’, my favourite track of the collection, sees Marlene Enright take us on a romp, two by two, underneath the covers. Closing track ‘Spies’ is a more delicate affair as Pat Carey gruff tones contrast with pained guitar notes. The Hard Ground, completed by Dave Duffy, Hugh Dillon and Davie Ryan, release the Triptych: 1 EP today, Friday, May 16, via all digital outlets. They’re launching the EP in Coughlan’s, Cork city, on Thursday, May 22. The video for opening song ‘Belles and Beaux’ is under the EP stream.