Wednesday, 25 October 2017

EP: Kieran Mulvihill - From the Outside Looking In

Kieran Mulvihill - From the Outside Looking In

Info: Kerry native Kieran Mulvihill released his debut EP today, From the Outside Looking In, following launch nights in Listowel's Mike The Pies and The Cobblestone in Dublin, which he now calls home. 

Ah this makes me happy. There is so much warmth and the familiarity of an old friend in Mulvihill's first sharing of his music across these five tracks. 'It's Alright' strafes across so many bands and solo acts I have enjoyed over the last 15 years, both Irish and international. There's a wee hint of the deep-toned but equally soft vocals of fellow Munsterman Cormac O'Caoimh, and looking further afield it's like a less melancholic Keaton Henson. 

Second track 'I'll Be Your Man When The Sun Goes Down' pins to my ears like a song from Mundy's youthfully exuberant debut LP Jelly Legs on its opening bars. The rhythm and beat are strong on this one, if you were expecting a stripped down collection of tracks, that idea gets turned on its head pretty quickly here, and a talented song-writer is already fully revealed. 

The EP's title-track is observational and possibly reflects Mulvihill's personal experiences since moving to Dublin a number of years ago, the bizarre dual proximity and distance between people all at once. The nostalgia floods through on this track for me musically, I'm all Pearl-Jammed and it's a sunny summer in 1991 again. 'No Fruit To Bear' lifts us away from urban environments and off to the calm of a country childhood that grew up too fast. The skilled acoustic guitar playing I've enjoyed up until now deserves a mention at this point, as do the highly visual lyrics. Here they are quite sad, gnawing almost apologetically at the auld heartstrings, 'No Fruit To Bear' can be interpreted in so many ways to different individuals.

Closing with 'Daydreamin'', Mulvihill makes lyrical references to Elliott Smith and Mic Christopher, and it's quite nice that he doesn't mimic them in sound, these are his songs after all and they're more than capable of standing on their own two feet. I have to admit I went through a long period of being slow to engage with the music of Irish singer-songwriters following the dearth of acts that followed the late 90's. But just like all across the board in Irish music right now, the quality has risen so high I no longer feel that way, faith has been restored through both impressive musicianship and song-writing, and most importantly, not sounding like anybody else. Kieran Mulvihill is certainly in this cohort based on the songs he has chosen to share through From the Outside Looking In, and I can't get the idea of him in a concert hall with a full string section behind him out of my head, I would be there in a shot.

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