- 27 Apr 21
First Cut From Budding Contenders
I love press releases, sure don't they do the job for you? Big Love are the combination of Cian Ó'Maonlaí's vocals and Jack Cody guitar and vocals. Now, as much as I would wish that young Cian came for the Ó'Maonlaí gang who sold me a lame pig at a mart in Moate a few years back so that I might initiate a legal claim for restitution with him, he is, of course, a son of Liam, the shoeless sex god soul man who fronts Hothouse Flowers and from whom, no doubt, Cian gets his impressive height, his rugged "sure come up to the caravan 'til I show you my etchings" good looks, and the soulful tones that emanate from his voice box. To be fair to them, they don't mention any of this in the document they've sent out to the likes of me, and quite rightly so; let your work stand on its own two feet.
I first came across the Big Love collective - who also include Megan Nic Ruairí (keyboards/vocals), Dan Aherne (bass), Dylan Bourke (drums), and Adam Curtis (lead guitar) - when they supported The Flowers - how did they secure that gig? - in The Olympia, back in 2018. They were called Coyotito - I think - which might be the better handle, but no matter. Did they have a similar cast? I don't know, for I was delayed on the night by the tardiness of my companion and the availability of imperial measures of stout in a nearby bar, a roofed structure that purveyed intoxicating liquor. You used to be able, in the olds days, to find them all over the country. Anyway, the couple of songs I did get to see and hear left an impression, think the poppier, later half of John Martyn's career and the kind of thing Ben Howard did on his first record, you know, the one that people bought.
That's about the sum total of what I know. I had a few pints in another bar after an Amadou & Mariam gig in the National Concert Hall with Cian and his Da, and he seemed like a thoroughly decent chap. Let me return to the press release, that'll fill in the blanks, surely?
"Big Love pirouette..." - hold on, 'pirouette'? I like that. Pirouette! Go ahead - "...between sweet, melodic textures and driving, rapturous crescendos, upon which they deliver raw and honest stories." My eyes tear over as I gaze out the window at the sky over sweet mother Ireland, and drink in, with my remaining senses, this poetry. Poetry! Is there any more of that magnificent and mellifluous fare?
There isn't, unfortunately. It does, however, tell me that 'Lily' was recorded in Windmill Lane under the production eye and ear of Cian Synnott and features Niall O' Sullivan of the National Concert Orchestra on the trumpets. Let us hear it so.
Nothing wrong with that. Nice slow burn of a build up, Nic Ruairí's vocal is a lovely addition to Ó'Maonlaí's, one of those "rapturous crescendos" that the Paz, Pope, and Plath of the press release promised does indeed arrive, and O'Sullivan's trumpets were an inspired choice. The seeds have been planted, 'People' should find a 'Home' for this 'Song From The...' (Enough, Carty! Jesus. - Ed).
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Photo: Kevin Kirwan.