- 18 Nov 22
Big-hearted anthems from Dublin superstar
Dermot Kennedy returns with warm electronic and string elements on his sophomore outing Sonder, having shattered the nation’s chart records with his hugely successful 2019 debut, Without Fear. Consistently wearing his heart on his sleeve, effort #2 finds him expanding his approach to his earnest love songs, which are brimming with yearning and the urge to overcome barriers. Slick production emphasises his colossal voice, with Kennedy’s trademark gravelly tone oozing passion at every turn.
“At last call turn up the lights, I hope I treated you right,” he belts on ‘One Life’, an electronic beat boosting the rich chorus. Singles ‘Something To Someone’, ‘Better Days’ and ‘Kiss Me’ occasionally tread familiar ground, but ‘Innocence And Sadness’ goes back to basics, reminding the listener that no instrument can top Kennedy’s one-of-a-kind pipes. A subtle, delicate piano melody backs his diaristic, vulnerable lyrics, focusing on a loved one he tries to be good enough for: “The reason I stay, well, I need you today / Baby, I would bleed in your name”.
‘Any Love’ takes hold of the listener from the first note, textured electronics and harmonies elevating it to heavenly heights. Simultaneously intimate and massive, Kennedy’s soulful rasp is also faultless on ‘Divide’, ‘Homeward’, 'Dreamer’ and ‘Blossom’.
Having previously drawn influence from Damien Rice, Glen Hansard and J. Cole on Without Fear, Sonder sticks to somewhat familiar, big-lunged love song territory. But the humanity – and phenomenal popularity – of his voice is undeniable.