Album Review: Marlene Enright, Placemats & Second Cuts

Sparkling solo debut from Cork Chanteuse

Better known in recent years as a member of Leeside outfit The Hard Ground, Marlene Enright is an enigmatic performer with a voice reminiscent of Cathy Davey and Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews. Claiming influences from the recent crop of Americana practitioners like Bon Iver and Feist, she also draws inspiration from the girl groups of the 1960s, including The Ronettes, The Shirelles and the Shangri-Las.

Enright’s perky voice, arty mystique and carefree approach make for a refreshing proposition, and her debut album proves hugely impressive. There’s a dreamy, post-modern pop sheen to deftly-constructed tunes like ‘Alchemy’ and ‘Little Things’, while the snappily titled ‘123’ boasts both an infectious groove and an irresistible chorus. Elsewhere, you can detect the early ’60s influence on ‘Bay Tree’ (which sounds like the Shangri-Las doing the Twin Peaks theme). The languid ‘When The Water Is Hot’ is a superb chill-out number; and ‘We Were In Trouble’ is a spellbinding slow-burner. Overall, a highly accomplished first effort.

 

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