- 07 Oct 19
Dubliner continues his rise to megastardom with stunning debut.
Few musicians embody the future course of music like Dermot Kennedy. Having achieved headliner status without the backing of an album, the Rathcoole singer-songwriter has carved out a fiery path of his own – propelled by deeply resonant singles, impressive live performances and the infinite reach of the internet.
But despite having demonstrated that album sales no longer equate to superstardom, Kennedy has made no secret of his desire to cement his legacy with a lasting, full-length work. Exposing his darkest vulnerabilities across 13 tracks, Kennedy has gone the extra mile, by presenting one of the finest debut albums of the year.
Of course, many of the songs on Without Fear will be familiar to fans. The electronic-influenced ‘Moments Passed’ and the bittersweet ‘All My Friends’ drag up as much raw emotion as ever, while the irresistible energy of ‘Power Over Me’ continues to prove why it’s a mainstay on the airwaves.
Deeply expressive, lovelorn anthems are Kennedy’s bread-and-butter, and while they’re still here in force, the album also captures a bold new direction in his sound. Pulling from hip-hop influences, he revisits early fan favourite ‘An Evening I Will Not Forget’ with a thrilling new remix – kitted out with added trap hi-hats and a vocoder. He applies a similar approach with the title track, bookending the album with these two highlights.
Lazy comparisons to Ed Sheeran have chased Kennedy since his early days, but on Without Fear, he has proved himself to be more than just another busker-turned-superstar with a powerhouse voice and an acoustic guitar. Making good on the promise of the title, Dermot Kennedy has fearlessly presented an album that boasts the kind of confidence rarely found on a debut. With some of the most viciously honest lyrics in modern pop, and a voice dug up from the deepest corners of the soul, Without Fear captures an artist on the cusp of greatness.