Daniel O’Sullivan, often spotted in Grumbling Fur but also recently as part of This Is Not This Heat, presents his second solo album of songs. The songwriting is at the core of Folly, though there is still plenty of textural intrigue in here, don’t worry about that O’Sullivan fans. Birth and death, family and love are all here in this highly personal and accomplished record.
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From his work with Norwegian experimentalists Ulver and the mighty This Is Not This Heat, you already know the new Daniel O’Sullivan record is going to be special. It’s a record that knows exactly what it is: big-hearted, expansive, dreamy pop.
To put Folly in some kind of context, it reminds me a little of Kurt Vile, especially some of the guitar phrasing that crops up on many of the tracks, and maybe even World Party’s all-time classic ‘Goodbye Jumbo’. His vocals also share similarities with John Martyn. I love the way you can hear hints at his previous experimental work like the throaty chanting on ‘Rattleman’ and the ambient opener ‘The Air St Evignne’, but these hints are never overbearing and always treated maturely. I think the best comparison I can draw is this: it’s like if Dinner made a guitar record and got into Badly Drawn Boy, Van Morrison, and John Martyn. What’s not to love?!
Occasionally I would love it if O’Sullivan stopped being so subtle and let some of the album really kick off. My favourite moments on Folly are less hypnotic but more dynamic, such as the whimsy of ‘The Coming of Age Story’ or the interplay of the choir and horns on ‘Under The Knife’. This never takes away from what is a really good album. Although I’d not listened to any of O’Sullivan’s work before hearing Folly, I will be investigating his oeuvre forthwith.
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