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- Anything bright or startling? by Aine O'Dwyer
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My goodness this is gorgeous. Áine O'Dwyer is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, best known for her lyrical harp playing with Mark Fry and The A. Lords, United Bible Studies, Piano Magic and Richard Moult. The opening track here ‘Falcon’ has a delicate, detailed harp playing and closely mic’d breathy vocals which have a celtic feel to them without being particularly obvious about it. The track is episodic, with moments of silence, breaking out into a lovely instrumental second movement.
It would be tremendously hard to write this review without saying the words Joanna Newsom, there are certain very obvious comparisons but the compositions are (in the opening exchanges anyway) much less....erm... challenging and have more of a pastoral, classical feel to them. The actual feel, particularly of the opening track reminds me tremendously of the unheralded but wonderful New York band Hugo Largo who made music kind of like this in the ‘80s when it was the last thing anyone wanted or expected. ‘Albion Awake’ breaks the gently undulating bliss with a vocal that hints at Bjork or Kate Bush and is much more shrill than the gentle openings.
Instrumentally there is very little variation away from the harp, with only occasional hints of cello, it sometimes as on ‘Silent O Moyle’ replicates the sound of running water, the voice here different again, recorded in a fug, cracked and impenetrable. It’s a tremendously poetic album, lyrics taken from old poems, it moves along slowly. Comparisons apart from the obvious one are difficult, I hear bits of Nico and of the pastoral rural folk of Lal Waterson or Ann Briggs. A tremendously affecting album, released in the Second Language 2L series with book-like packaging.
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