Tuesday 2 May 2017

Album: Cormac O'Caoimh - shiny silvery things

Cormac O'Caoimh shiny silvery things
Photo: Richie Tyndall

Info: In June 2014 Cormac O'Caoimh released his critically acclaimed album, The Moon Loses Its Memory, a batch of singles were subsequently put out, with the most popular of the lot being the gorgeous 'Yellow Crumbs'. Following the release of that album O'Caoimh featured and received excellent reviews in MOJO MAGAZINE, The Sunday Times, Hot Press, The Ticket and many many more. He has done live sessions and interviews on RTE Radio 1, Newstalk, KCLR to name but a few and the album received airplay on national stations in the UK and Ireland and across Europe. O'Caoimh also played at the 2016 Hard Working Class Heroes festival with a set in Dublin's City Hall.

Opening track and first single from the album, 'Second Hand Clothes' was reviewed here last month; 'There is undoubted warmth to O'Caoimh's sound and vocals on 'Second Hand Clothes', it also sounds richer in terms of production, and more wholesome, with the songwriter introducing more instrumentation, whilst also retaining that bare and honest feel. Something which O'Caoimh is most adept at is bringing a comforting smile to the face of the listener, but at the same time, tempering that with a subtle moroseness, almost pointedly delivered in the song's very final seconds.

'Silence and Sound' could be viewed as the bridge between his last album and shiny silvery things, O'Caoimh's trademark spin on spoken-word vocals which we heard in the past, now have a full-bodied instrumental accompaniment surrounding them with the net effect of creating greater vibrancy. On 'Hey You' the mood is more restrained, it could be interpreted as a call out to an old friend, or indeed a message to the self, reconnecting to what is important from within the chaos. 

'Born' is a key highlight, the subtle and deliberate contradictions which litter the album continue; "you should have been born somewhere more or less pedestrian". Thematically it's akin to Leonard Cohen appearing on a Sgt. Peppers' bonus track, story-telling is in full flow here. The track bristles with charm and swings between old and new worlds with ease, throw in the (once again) inviting vocal harmonies and we have a definite high point on the album.

Cormac O'Caoimh shiny silvery things album

Tack is changed slightly on the blues-infused 'Hollow of an Old Oak', mythical and pagan imagery abound; "build an Atlantis in my blood" the protagonist sings, beautiful. 'Big Mirror' uses the metaphor of the sea admiring the shore and the moon from it's own viewpoint, vis-à-vis our continuous outward look on life and others, instead of recognising our own positive traits and being comfortable in our skin.

The album's title track opens with a bubbly country-rock intro, before veering into a jazz-club sound, with added electronic drum-pad giving it a jovial and swinging vibe. shiny silvery things closes with 'Lampshade Lights', a quirky minimalistic electronic intro catches your attention immediately, as the track progresses it wisps its way through soft-folk, ambient soundscapes and showcases O'Caoimh's ability to look at the seemingly inanimate and turn it into an epic storyboard. 

The final contradiction can be viewed as a whole once you've taken in the full 12 tracks on shiny silvery things, it is clear that Cormac O'Caoimh takes great care in structuring his songs and music, the mood of the story must relate to the sound of the music, the mark left on the listener must be reflected in the vocal delivery. The contradiction arises from the fact that although we are presented with seemingly careful structure, the overall feel is one of effortlessness on the songwriter's behalf, turning the everyday into the special, where we see the mundane to the point of not even noticing anymore, O'Caoimh sees shiny silvery things everywhere and breathes colourful life into every single one of them.

Cormac O'Caoimh will be playing The Acoustic Yard Festival in Westport, 5th-7th of May, Mick Murphy's in Ballymore Eustace on the 8th May, Triskel Christchurch in Cork on the 13th of May, and DC Music Club in Dublin on the 19th of May.

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