Engine man has power
Album Review: Brian Kenealy Hiems Transiit (Own release) 3 STARS
Engine Alley were among the best bands of Irish music's fertile early 1990s period, but widespread success eluded them.
Twenty years after its release and their glam-inflected indie-rock debut album, A Sonic Holiday, still sounds special.
While comparatively little has been heard of frontman Canice Kenealy, his brother Brian is on album number two. And Hiems Transiit – Latin for "winter has passed" and, apparently, the motto of his old school in Kilkenny – offers a reminder of his guitar-playing prowess.
His Les Paul guitar elevates the escape-fantasy opener General Disrepair above the ordinary while the aptly titled Mr Rhythm finds him coaxing a driving, bluesy sound from his instrument.
The project is derailed somewhat by Kenealy's singing, which veers from bland to pedestrian – there's a reason why his brother took lead vocals in Engine Alley – but the purely instrumental title track suggests his compositional nous remains intact.
KEY TRACKS General Disrepair; Mr Rhythm