- 16 Oct 13
SINGULAR VOICE SHOULD NOT MASK FINE SONGS
Lisa O’Neill’s vocal delivery is so idiosyncratic, so distinctive, as to be a trademark. That can be as much a curse as a blessing.
Production, playing, even the lyrics can become viewed only through the filter of the voice. Well, it would be a crying shame if she became pigeon-holed as that singer with the odd delivery, because on Same Cloth Or Not she’s written some fine songs, which manage to balance a clarity and simplicity of expression with beautiful imagistic writing that’s tinged here and there with surrealism.
There remains a strong living tradition of storytelling in the border counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Armagh and this too underpins much of the writing, as she weaves fragments of her childhood experience into the narrative fabric of the songs. There’s also a strong border tradition of country music and this gets referenced both lyrically and musically in the closing track ‘Dreaming’, with its namechecking of Willie Nelson and a title that’s pure Patsy Cline. On this and ‘Darkest Winter’she lets loose a soaring melodic voice across an underlay of backing vocals, which makes much of what goes before seem repressed in comparison.
The production, with its unrelenting evenness of pace and unremitting wash of reverb, may seek to create an hypnotic state, tying the whole record together but it sails dangerously close to monotonous. Apart from the voice of course...
Key Track: 'Dreaming Darkest Winter'