Friday, 11 August 2017

EP: Pat Dam Smyth - Goodbye Berlin

Pat Dam Smyth Goodbye Berlin EP

Info: PAT DAM SMYTH’S debut album 'The Great Divide' was hailed as a modern masterpiece in his native Northern Ireland and received critical acclaim further afield, from The Independent, Q magazine, Hotpress Magazine, Irish Times, Rock Italia, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 music to name but a few. Born and raised on a farm in Northern Ireland from Irish and Greek roots he moved to London, via Dublin, Liverpool, Athens and Los Angeles. 

His music falls somewhere between John Grant, Leonard Cohen, Father John Misty and Nick Cave, and his ability to distill his raw authenticity into a mixture of world weary low vocals, and those soul-searingly high moments is winning him an army of fans both inside the industry and out. A leading light in a new wave of exciting Northern Irish artists, Pat is already being cited as an influence to peers such as Ciaran Lavery; as well as having the support of local legends Ash, who he opened for at recent London show at Scala.

Today sees the launch of Pat Dam Smyth's new EP, Goodbye Berlin, the title track of which he describes as; "being  a  kid  and  disappearing  down  the  rock  and  roll  rabbit  hole". The five-track opens with the wonderful 'Juliette' which has received airplay on BBC Radio 6 from Cerys Matthews and Lauren Laverne and the video for which also featured on these pages a few weeks ago. We observed that; "musically we have Link Wray tremelo-led guitar riffs, a crossover of late 60's psychedelic-rock and modern sounds รก la Father John Misty meets Spiritualized, it's a very interesting concoction."

Pat Dam Smyth - Juliette

The title-track 'Goodbye Berlin' follows, with its western-style folk-rock opening the pace and tempo of the music recall a reimagining of Leonard Cohen, and for contemporary touch-points I'm thinking a small bit of King Creosote or Damien Jurado. Opening with the lyrics; "And everyone's got pain you know, the trick is how to let it go, I got mine but it's not yours to see, only when you get to know me, when it's out it's hard to hide, as everyone says the end is nigh, that may be true but not for me, cause I've got medication baby..." Whilst the theme is about numbing harsh realities, it conversely does the opposite for the listener.

On 'Blue Lights' Pat Dam Smyth goes further with the heart on your sleeve mood. It becomes clear at this stage that through vocal tone and gentle musical arrangements he is able to create very clear visual story-boards to go with his songs and direct the listener with ease to exactly where he wants them to go, it's quite a beautiful experience.

The EP takes an ebullient turn on the ominously titled 'Judgement Day', no brow-beating is to be found, and Smyth takes a wry and smiling trip down memory lane to times of excess and youthful recklessness, and how peoples impressions can last a life-time and incur stubborn prejudicial judgement.

Goodbye Berlin closes with the truly gorgeous 'Emily', the wonderful thing about this EP and Pat Dam Smyths song-writing, is that he can remind you of artists of yore through mood without really sounding like them at all. I feel like I felt when I first heard The Velvet Underground & Nico, again Leonard Cohen, and Richard Hawley's Late Night Final, but it's just a feeling, a nice one mind. It's atmospheric, a portal to another decade, and a poignant and strong finale to a truly heart-warming and perfectly crafted EP.

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