- 17 Nov 23
Impressively crafted pop-rock collection. 8/10
John Gallen made a fine rattle and hum with his 2022 debut 1970s, which boasted expertly crafted songs and artful musicianship. Its impact reverberated from his native Dublin as far as Mexico. His second collection once again nudges the genre boundaries, and has been well-flagged with tasty singles, notably ‘Miracle Without Shoes’.
It arrives at a brisk pace, sprinkled with U2-isms and covered in cute melodic bites. Another single, ‘One-Way Boat Trip’, builds on a relentless chugging rhythm, while ‘You’ sashays in like Bryan Ferry and adds infectious falsettos. The album ends with the live ‘Elouise’, proving that Gallen can cut it outside the studio too.
Any other time, Gallen might fall foul of the thought police for over-repaying an assumed debt to U2, but those kind of gripes seem more than a little old hat now. Thankfully, Gallen’s sonic palette stretches well beyond any unconscious Fab 4-isms, covering everything from early rock and roll to soft stadium-rock. And in the safe hands of producer Billy Farrell, and musicians of the calibre of Bowie sidekick Gerry Leonard, Gallen delivers a sustained pop musical masterclass.