Album Review: Gabby Brady, Talk Horse

Debut solo effort from The Voice star.

Dublin-born, Australian-raised and now Wicklow based, Gabby Brady first came to the attention of the masses as part of the Dublin City Rounders and their highly rated appearances on BBC’s The Voice. Here he does his own very singular thing on a quirky collection of originals, which at times sounds like it was recorded during one long chaotic, late-night session. Backed by a small combo featuring both acoustic and twangy electric guitars, along with a heavily-plucked double-bass, it certainly doesn’t get more organic or pared-to-the-bone – the lack of drums is barely noticeable.

Opening track ‘Happy Song’ blends raw rockabilly, vintage Johnny Cash and introduces Brady’s somewhat, er, “unique” vocal style, where unbridled enthusiasm and sheer joy outguns regular, boring stuff like “pitch” and “tunefulness”. A love ballad of sorts, ‘Inside Summer‘ claims inspiration from the legendary Johnny Duhan, but there are few enough similarities on display. Elsewhere, fans of the Cramps and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion will find touchstones on ‘Coat On The Door’ – a bluesy, park-spoken rant, which cleverly purloins a snatch of Them’s ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ in the lyric.

Despite the general devil-may-care approach, Brady can also be serious. Political fare comes in the shape of ‘Perpetual State’ and the self-explanatory ‘Mona Santo’, which takes aim at genetic engineering. ‘No Protocol’, meanwhile, takes a shot at millennials’ digital existence. Though on occasion a touch too frivolous, Talk Horse is nevertheless a charming and sincere record.

 

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