Thursday 14 December 2017

Music: Water Off A Duck's Back by Ronan O Snodaigh * *

(Kila Records)

Ronan O Snodaigh hasn't got the greatest voice
Ronan O Snodaigh hasn't got the greatest voice
John Meagher

John Meagher

The Kila man has gone it alone for an album that takes lo-fi to new levels. Sounding like it was recorded in a draughty basement, there's a slapdash quality to this album that's impossible to ignore.

It doesn't help that O Snodaigh isn't the most gifted vocalist in the world, whether as Gaeilge or here in English. Sure, there is a certain character to his voice, but too often you're reminded of an irritating busker adding unfortunate acoustics to Grafton Street. And that's especially the case on opener Bigger and Better, a decent song let down by a poor delivery.

The album's saving grace is the gentle acoustic nature of the music and the virtuosity of the players assembled by O Snodaigh.

In places, the arrangements are quite lovely, especially on Matthew Mark and Terrible Beauty, even if the later finds the singer strangulating some of WB Yeats's most celebrated lines.

Liam O Maonlai also pops up on backing vocals, and he's careful not to overshadow his friend. Perhaps, on this occasion, the Hothouse Flowers man would have done us a service by being a bit more forceful.

Burn it: Matthew Mark

Irish Independent

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