I Told You The Truth captures the sound of a church in Galway on the mornings that the unusually named Brigid Power-Ryce spent playing music in there. The recordings are all live and happily have not had the extraneous sounds of traffic and seagulls cut out of them. Nice and intimate eh? On Abandon Reason.
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- I Told You The Truth by Brigid Power-Ryce
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Acoustics really do shape everything. Brigid Power-Ryce has described the recording of ‘I Told You The Truth’ as a soothing and meditative time, one of uninterrupted musical solitude spent “on quiet mornings, with a lot of coffee and rain, hiding from the vicar, who was very nice and fine with me being there after all”. It should, by all rights, be one of the most comforting things you’re going to hear this year: the sound of a contented artist creating in a world that’s neutral to her craft, if not encouraging it. Given that there’s a vicar, though, there’s also a church, and its grainy walls and grand designs transform these sparse folk songs -- giving their subtle loneliness a pedestal.
‘I Told You The Truth’ is not the only record that’s been scrambled together in church closing hours this year, with Aine O’Dwyer’s ‘Music For Church Cleaners’ having the same thrown off feel around overwhelming organ drones. Ryce doesn’t give into the church in the same way, though -- she uses the ambience created around her to great effect, but doesn’t fold to its reverent vibe. Her whimsical whistling remains, her torch song wails recall the bedroom pop of Angel Olsen rather than devotional music, and she doesn’t shy away from bright major keys on songs like “I Don’t Know How To Do This Naturally”.
Thanks to the church, Power-Ryce is in the centre; her vocal is compelling whether we can configure the songwriting from it, recalling the powerful mumbles of Joanne Robertson but with a spell of empty space around her. Power-Ryce uses her stretched out hums and consistent high notes for something strikingly optimistic in sound. It’s a record of sustain and homogeneity, with compact guitar strums and lurching accordion, but it never feels dour.
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