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With this debut album Julie Feeney announces herself as the most intriguing female voice - bar the criminally neglected Shaz Oye - to come out of Ireland since Sinead O’Connor.
Jackie Hayden, 27 Sep 2005
With this debut album Julie Feeney announces herself as the most intriguing female voice - bar the criminally neglected Shaz Oye - to come out of Ireland since Sinead O’Connor. She also writes all the songs and plays an remarkable array of musical instruments, including keyboards, xylophone and melodica. And it doesn’t stop there. This is no batch of production-line offerings tossed off to fit the current formula, as Feeney often strips songs down to their bare skin and reveals them in all their uncluttered, naked glory. The instruments are used sparingly and to maximum effect, especially the harmonium on ‘Judas’ and the xylophone on ‘Autopilot’, the latter a sean-nós base with an overlay of Feeney’s fragile voice and a forlorn accordion.
The exquisite ‘Alien’ may be the first ever recording of harmony voices with sole clock accompaniment and some mouth music to round it off, while ‘Aching’ drips with heartache and yearning. ‘You Bring Me Down’ is kind of indie-trad, like nothing you’ve heard before, but like most of the album, a treat you’ll want to experience again (and again). The comparatively conservative ‘Fictitious Richard’ and ‘Wind Out Of My Sails’ both reflect the whimsy of the McCartney wing of The Beatles, while ‘Under My Skin’ is all early hours balladry and ‘Wastin’’ a truly delicious love song.
At a time when the country is brimming with new talent, it is inevitable that some will be trampled underfoot, but for sheer originality, courage and raw talent, Feeney deserves to soar above and beyond even the merely excellent.