Saturday, 6 June 2015

E.P.: Noel O'Brien - Noel O'Brien

Noel O'Brien Music
Photo: Nanou Blachon

Noel O'Brien, 'Yet To Come'

Info: Noel O'Brien is a singer-songwriter from Co. Tipperary and based in Dublin, the 21-year-old has just completed a 4 year music course in BIMM music college on Francis Street. O'Brien cites folk artists such as John Martyn, Bob Dylan and Nick Drake as influences and recorded the entire debut E.P. over the course of a year at his home in Tipp. 

On my short trips to work in the mornings I like to catch up on the auld tunes and earlier in the week I was very taken by the five tracks on Noel O'Brien's self-titled E.P., I need to stop letting my heart sink when I see the description singer-songwriter and I think we all need to move on from the associations we've made over the years with the modern day connotations the term brings. I think it was ruined in the early noughties by the gremlin-like pandemic which swept the country following the success of Damien Rice, thankfully I think the poor quality of that period is well behind us and almost all artists I hear nowadays under the description are writing quality material with both depth of lyrics and skilled musicianship. 

From opening track 'Yet To Come' (above) it is immediately clear that O'Brien's music is steeped in late-60's and early 70's sounds you would associate with the likes of psychedelic folk musician Alexander 'Skip' Spence of Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane fame and Townes Van Zandt minus the drawl. Musically there are also some hat tips to Love and Neil Young, but while all of these artists circle the music O'Brien has made, there is also a uniqueness and obviously current sound to be found with some of the effects, particularly as the E.P. progresses toward the middle and end. 

Noel O'Brien, 'Reprise'

On 'For The Future' O'Brien comes across as forlorn without disseminating feelings of sadness, the music feels comforting and familiar, and the arrangements are well-worked and quite powerful as you move toward the songs finale. The real magic for me started with 'The Night', beautiful melodies and vocally eerie, the song clasps you in it's grip and takes you on a journey into deep folk psychedelia, you start to see the true talent on show here and it's incredibly impressive quality for a debut E.P.. While we have 5 solid tracks presented to us I found that the final one, 'Reprise', really stopped me in my tracks, it is heart-wrenching emotionally and the echoed effects add significantly to the overall atmosphere. The minor experimental tweaks at the end of it make you feel as though you've witnessed a progression in the space of just one recording, from opening to close, all of it thoroughly enjoyable and providing glimpses of even better things to come.

Noel O'Brien Music
Photo: Nanou Blachon

Noel O'Brien will be performing live dates shortly and to keep up with the announcements you can follow him at the below:

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