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Fizzled-out Derry rocker unveils musical kryptonite

Our Krypton Son

Our Krypton Son

(Smalltown America)


Remember Red Organ Serpent Sound? For a fleeting moment, the larger-than-life Derry psychedelic rockers looked like they were headed for the big time.

But, like so many other bands before them, they fizzled out before they got a chance to show what they were truly capable of – or if they were just another mouthy outfit thinking big.

Now the frontman of that defunct group, Chris McConaghy, has cobbled together a very different band of musicians for an alt.rock album that's more accessible than what he's released before, albeit not nearly as singular.

What's not in doubt is McConaghy's ability to pen good pop tunes and the breezy Gargantuan, which has shades of Teenage Fanclub to it, does his cause the world of good.

He's blessed with a captivating voice too, and he puts it to good use on the excellent When I First Lay Dreaming, one of the album's standouts and the song most likely to get the band noticed.

Yet, despite these high points, the album is a decidedly patchy affair. The less inspired tracks may remind some of the unremarkable folk-lite of another Northern Irish troubadour, Peter McCauley – aka Rams' Pocket Radio.

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And for every appealingly catchy number like This Jealous Heart, there's half-realised fare like Sunlight in the Ashes, which had the potential to turn out so much better than it did.

Still, anyone who can write a tune as lovely as the plaintive, beguiling Catalonian Love Song should have a bright future in store and, on the evidence of this promising album, Our Krypton Son could well last the distance.

KEY TRACKS Gargantuan;

When I First Lay Dreaming; Catalonian Love Song