John Cathal O’Brien

John Cathal O’Brien. Acid Week.
John Cathal O’Brien/Bandcamp, 2012.

Even in New York, O’Brien brings the melodies and lyricism of his birthplace, Dublin, Ireland, to the ears of those lucky enough to stumble into his path (or those nudged in his direction, as was the case this time).

Leeches begins with soft strumming and almost spoken-word styled poetry, adding drums and horns later on to fill out the tune.  Following this up, Let It Go speeds up slightly, and is a smidge higher in tone; Let It Go is a great reminder of the importance of not clinging to negative emotions and people.  Returning to a lower register and slower time, The Passing is somber and introspective and very soothing (but not good for driving when tired).  Millions is a calm, peaceful melody in the beginning but picking up to a pleasant little kick before settling down again at the end of the song.  After this first series of songs, Different Woman is practically jaunty and ends with a nice bit of snare flourish.  Acid Week is no where near as caustic as the title would suggest, and definitely well-played and well-written.  The final three songs range from slow and mournful in Seven Years to upbeat and verging on rollicking in Disabled.  The album ends on a high note with War Songs.

While this isn’t the latest of O’Brien’s albums, it’s a good introduction to his music generally.  His latest album, Songs on Lafayette, was released in parts over 2012 and 2013 and is available as a free download on Bandcamp.

Tracks: Leeches; Let It Go; The Passing; Millions; Different Woman; Acid Week; Seven Years; Disabled; War Songs

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