Sunday 18 February 2018

Review: Cian Nugent & the Cosmos - Born with the Caul

Nugent delivers game-changer

Emerging: Cian Nugent
Emerging: Cian Nugent
Cian Nugent

Cian Nugent & the Cosmos - Born with the Caul (No Quarter Records)

A couple of weeks back, in an interview with this magazine, Villagers' mainman Conor O'Brien was asked what emerging Irish musician he rated most. He didn't hesitate: "Cian Nugent – he's incredibly special. Go to see him in concert and you'll be transfixed. I was."

The Dubliner has been plying his trade for the past few years and attracted glowing notices for his second album, Doubles, released in 2011.

But this is the album that is set to be a game-changer and the one that shows him to be an outstanding guitarist who is determined to do things his way and not be swayed by prevailing fads.

There are just three lengthy tracks in the album's 45-minute run time and while such an endeavour offers the finger to disposable, quick-fix download culture it does require the listener to engage properly with the music.

Those who give it time for its magic to percolate will be richly rewarded with compositions that display a rare skill and a daring sensibility.

Nugent's guitar playing is masterful throughout, but it's the interplay with some superb musicians that makes this album such a slow-burn pleasure.

From David Lacey's inventive percussion to Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh's expressive viola, Nugent's elaborate compositions are flecked with the most gorgeous sound.

A special word too for the organ-playing of John Hegarty, which is understated and beguiling.

Key tracks: Double Horse; The Houses of Parliament

Irish Independent

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