Alongside King Harvest and the Weight (reviewed yesterday), we’ve spent a lot of time listening to this lovely new album.
Ciaran Lavery is from the small village of Aghagallon, on the edge of Lough Neagh in County Armagh, and started playing and singing at the age of 15. Now based in the UK, his new album gently blends acoustic music with electronic samples but it’s his voice that grabs you: smoky but smooth, it’s a voice that makes the music instantly appealing.
He’s very like fellow Irishman Damien Rice, whose album O was massive back in 2002-03 — on the UK albums chart for 97 weeks, and selling 650,000 copies in the US. He’s also a bit David Gray (not Irish but apparently White Ladder is the biggest-selling album in Ireland) and reminded us of another Irishman, Fionn Regan, in places.
Opener Sonoma starts with just piano and vocals but after that he adds various electronic effects (it sounds like a drum machine and there are samples and synths) that enhance the acoustic instruments. Okkervil River is good, as is Return to Form and the mournful Let Bad In, though it’s all good, and slightly hypnotic; you can never play it just once. The lyrics are thoughtful, too (once you let bad in you cannot close the door, that sort of thing). Excellent.