Two albums hit me recently from two Irish singer-songwriters and there's enough similarities as well as contrasting attributes to make this an interesting first attempt at a parallel 'Album Review'.
Peter Doran - Overhead The Stars
On his third album, 'Overhead The Stars' Peter Doran has an apatite for real success from this collection of songs. Out goes the subtle accompaniment of the Cello and in comes a full band, edgy soundtrack to his very personal collection of songs. The big question is simply does the full band sound work for Peter?
For me the best songs are the ones where Peter's vocals are front and centre. In particular the love song 'Little Room' is a beautifully written delicate tune. Listen here:
The album kicks off with an epic sounding 'Perfumed Letter' which is arguably the best song on the album. Other impressive tunes include the jazzy 'Thread' about missing friends and loved ones far away, the eighties contemporary rock sounding closer 'Falling Tree's as well as this fine track 'Knife Thrower's Eyes':
The problem with the third album from an artist is that the album is comparable to the two earlier pieces of work from the artist as well as to everything else. I much preferred 2010's 'Sleepless Street' because there were better songs on it that showcased Peter's fine vocals and poignant lyrics. These attributes get lost among the full band sound on the album. In comparison to the rest of the healthy Irish music scene; 'Overhead the Stars' is a solid album which relating to an old proverb "hits the treetops", not the stars.
Peter Doran - Overhead The Stars [8 out of 12]
For a limited time the album is available on a 'Name your price' deal through bandcamp.
Robert Delaney - Rising Tide
'Rising Tide' is the debut album from Dubliner Robert Delaney who appeared from nowhere with a debut album. The album's a foot stomping bluesy rock album which hits the right spots on a number of tracks. Robert's vocals remind me of the vocal style of 'Roesy' and 'Mark Geary' which means that his vocals are instantly like-able.
The first quality song on the album is the catchy radio-friendly 'New Wave'.
Other quality songs include the moody title track, the delightful love song 'If I Had You' and the wonderful album closer 'Home'.
In the main 'Rising Tide' has too many tracks which are skip-able [Between the Canals] or contain lyrics which are a tad cringing [When Beauty Hit The Street]. This is a real shame because of the quality of the songs mentioned above and the fact that Robert has superb vocals.
Robert Delaney - Rising Tide [7 out of 12]
Buy the album: http://robertdelaney.bandcamp.com/
Mullingar's Peter Doran is as persistent as they come with his career mirroring that of David Gray. Peter's first two albums contained many good songs but like David Gray didn't make a big impact commercially. Then David Gray adds an edge to his sound with third album 'Sell Sell Sell' which while it had some great songs didn't make the impact he was looking for. Sadly I don't see Peter progressing too far with 'Overhead The Stars' but i do feel that there's a 'White Ladder' in him in the not too distant future.
I can't believe how similar Robert Delaney's album is to Peter's. In a crowded scene where people struggle to find money to spend on music an album has to be packed full of great songs with more than a hint of originality to them. I wish Robert & Peter all the best with their albums but it'll be a tough task getting people to part with their cash for either album.