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Girls, Boys & Clockwork Toys

Dublin Songstress comes of age with enchanting second album

Rating: 8 / 10

Peter Murphy, 27 Apr 2009

What a lovely record, devoid of guile, unwarranted cleverality or tricksiness. Margaret Healy writes plaintive, questioning and vulnerable songs, deftly played and beautifully scored. She’ll catch you off guard with a line so honest and unadorned the only possible response is to be touched (“I miss your mum and dad/I never met them”). It’s that simple. There are songs like ‘The Only Soldier’, a majestically arranged yearning for the missed romantic chance. Or ‘Chocolate Lake’, as lushly orchestrated and woebegone as anything off Daisies Of The Galaxy. Or ‘Tick Tock’, a no-nonsense bathroom mirror buck-up-your-ideas self-intervention (“So you fell into a rut/Would you ever just get up/Ah poor auld you, what are ye doing?”) set to Pet Sounds backing.

So, it goes without saying that on her second album, Healy’s largely forsaken the bedsit electronica of And You Are? in order to forge a glistening chamber music that complements a set of humbly heroic songs written about real-life stuff: nights spent in the doghouse for saying the wrong thing (‘Sorry I Spoke’, ‘3AM Mayhem’), the fear of love versus the ache of loneliness (‘Half An Hour’, ‘Shown You’), wariness of the impetuous fling (‘Lying Is Ugly’), a small girl’s indignation at the tale of ‘Adam & Eve’. In other words, Girls, Boys & Clockwork Toys encompasses life, love, death and the whole damn thing.

That Margaret Healy is a bit of a genius.

Key Track: ‘The Only Soldier’

Rating: 8 / 10
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