Sunday, 12 February 2017

Album: New Pope - Love

New Pope Love

Info: New Pope is a songwriter dealing in melodic indie dream pop and sometimes folk. Onstage he is joined by Colm Bohan on percussion and Stephen Connolly on organ and guitar.

Released in December 2015, New Pope’s debut album YOUTH was named number 13 in the Reader's Best Irish Albums of 2015, number 23 in The Thin Air’s Irish releases of the year and Release of the Week in The Irish Times.

New Pope's second album LOVE was released on December 31st 2016 and named The Irish Times Album of The Week. A third album, called HOME, is planned for the summer of 2017. 

On New Pope's sophomore album, Love, we are treated to some very proficient alternative-folk with Americana roots from the Galway musician. The album's title-track could easily have appeared on the OST for Wes Anderson's 1998 classic Rushmore, like a song plucked from an era that has gone before. The lyrics are also suitably wry; "I don't care about, the Middle-East, I don't care about, inequality, I don't care about, refugees, I don't care about the Russians or the Chinese, I don't care about these laws that make no sense, I don't care about poor health and rising rents, all I care about...."

New Pope - The Claddagh

'In Between' gives us a different type of mellow, shimmering electric guitar, and a very lo-fi escapist mood, like a mix of Kings of Convenience and early Band of Horses, it's so sleepy and calm that you have no choice but to just drift off on a bed of bending guitar notes. On 'The Claddagh' (above video), we drop deeper into New Pope's comatose state, delicate percussion to the point of being almost inaudible, underscores this mood and ably sums up his intentions for the listener on Love.

Stephen Connolly's organ playing on 'Old Love Song' is absolutely delightful, as the tempo increases, it gives a real old world and retro feel to the track, it's like a Nouvelle Vague version of a Joy Division song, with the rippling bass and pointed drumming. After the once again comforting sounds of 'Lost Love', New Pope goes very stripped down and raw in all of the best ways on 'Boys Can Be So Cruel', it has that bedroom dream pop vibe down to a T. 

Closing with 'The Heart of It All' David Boland finishes as he began, meandering and deconstructed wandering through a hazy fuzz of filtered vox and an all-encompassing sound of cymbals. I quite like the way in which both of New Pope's albums to date are seven tracks long, it is more than sufficient for him to display and share his sound, and with a total track length of just under 45 minutes, the condensed nature of the songs across the album works better than if they had been shorter and greater in number. His forthcoming album, Home, will be of interest, and it is hoped that he will expand his sound even further on album number three.

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