Album Review: Brendan O'Shea - Songs from A Tenement

Highly satisfying third album from a Kerry Man in New York!

I do admit I didn't feel the love on my first listen to Brendan O'Shea's third album 'Songs from a Tenement'. I think I wanted the songs to match the brilliance of 'Ex-tra-ordinary' and 'Dismantled' off his 2003 debut album. Over the next few listens I did discovery some truly excellent tracks such as the delicate 'Who Loves You Now' and the up-tempo and atmospheric 'Bloodshot' which is guaranteed to be on my 'Best of Song' list for 2011.

What really impresses me about Brendan O'Shea is that the focus within all of his songs are the lyrics, melodies and simple chord structures. I seen Brendan live before buying his albums and there's no other singer-songwriter I know who's albums reflect his solo stage performances. Apart from 'Bloodshot' my favourite songs are when it's just Brendan and a guitar such as 'Sunday Summer Day' and the album closer 'Grace'. The inclusion of a few Beatles-esque pop tunes like the opening track 'Burning in the Fire' and 'The Way It Is' is another clear highlight for me.

Unfortunately this isn't a completely positive review. Some of tracks come and go without a whimper and while Brendan's songs hinge on his lyrics there are some tracks in which the lyrics fail to ignite a passion in me.

If you're into Brendan's music I'm sure you won't but be impressed. If you're a fan of people like Mark Geary, The Swell Season or even Jamie Lawson you will find in 'Songs from a Tenement' a worthy album to explore.

Brendan O'Shea - Songs from a Tenement [9 out of 12]

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