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Carry The Meek

"Generally the tracks have a real heart tugging quality to them, with rising melodies and great musical diversions as middle eighths – the band really know how to build a song to an epic climax."

Rating: 8 / 10

Patrick Freyne, 11 Feb 2008

Ham Sandwich are like an insane experiment thought up by university musicologists while down the pub. “Hey!” says musicologist number one as he sips his Snakebite. “Let’s put together a genuinely brilliant band and give them a stupid name and see how that affects their progress!”

“That’s a fantastic idea!” says musicologist number two. “And for our next trick let’s put Glen Hansard in a low budget musical and try and get him an Oscar nomination!”

Ham Sandwich are a really, really good band. The magical twinning of Podge McNamee’s dark baritone with Niamh Farrell’s crystal clear alto is their secret weapon. But it’s not the only thing they have at their disposal. Beginning and ending with the sounds of acoustic guitars, the bulk of the album is made up of chugging electric guitars, bass and drums with tastefully added guitar picking, keyboard, theremins (I think) and effects used to highlight and emphasise what are essentially swelling, melodic, romantic pop songs. Songs like ‘St Christopher’, ‘Broken Glass’ and ‘Sleep’ are classics (Niamh’s “don’t let go” refrain at the end of the latter kind of reminds me of ‘Don’t Give Up’ with Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel). Generally the tracks have a real heart tugging quality to them, with rising melodies and great musical diversions as middle eighths – the band really know how to build a song to an epic climax.

Recorded by Karl Odlum in a home-made studio based in a dormitory at Headfort House in Kells, Carry The Meek is an album of beautifully sung, crisp, tight, lush, emotional and fun guitar songs that is much more than the sum of its parts. And who cares what their name is (well, me obviously, but I still think it’s a superb album).

Rating: 8 / 10
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