- 23 Sep 20
Scintillating album from former Skindive vocalist.
I remember back around the turn of the millennium, being reluctantly dragged by a publicist to see a band he represented playing a showcase in Vicar Street. The band was Skindive and I left the venue believing I had just seen the best heavy alt-rock act this island had ever produced, ready to fill the gap left by the then-ailing Smashing Pumpkins.
The main reason for my excitement was front-woman Danielle Harrison, a pocket rocket from Los Angeles with the voice of a screaming angel and the stage presence to back it up. Unfortunately, Skindive didn’t survive past their second album, and it has taken the singer almost two decades to put together her own band. But boy was it worth the wait!
Now Danielle Harrison Byrne, following her marriage to fellow musician Derek Byrne (Autumn Owls), she has recruited himself on guitar, as well as drummer Dan Devlin (Moskowitz) and the most dependably brilliant bassist in Ireland, Anton Hegarty (A Lazarus Soul, Future Kings Of Spain), for a debut album that more than lives up to its promise.
If the dark drama of PJ Harvey and prime Nick Cave are your aural drugs of choice, then My Sweet Beloved is right up your twisted alley, from the menacing ‘Call Off Your Dogs’ to the goth-rock operetta of ‘Violetta A Story’. Lead single ‘The Invitation’ is slow and sombre, an eerie soundscape overlaid with dramatic drum flourishes and haunting vocals. ‘Infernal Fires’ is all meaty bassline, swirling guitar and a strident vocal similar to Anna Calvi fronting Garbage.
The brilliant ‘Big Smoke’ sees Harrison Byrne soaring over industrial slabs of noise, and the magnificent ‘Sweet Fresh Meats’ alternates between almost whispered vocals and waves of crashing guitars.
It may have taken nigh on 20 years, but this debut finally heralds the arrival of Ireland’s newest great alt-rock band.