- 20 Oct 04
Mortal Coil is often superb, McCormick’s fine grasp of song structure and shifting vocal styles shining through.
One can understand why sceptics might approach Neil McCormick’s debut with caution. After the wave of publicity which his memoir I Was Bono’s Doppelganger has received, Mortal Coil risks being viewed as a cash-in or an attempt by McCormick to gain some of the musical respect he’s admitted to wanting all his life. Wrong on both counts: in fact The Ghost Who Walks’ debut is an accomplished, and at times, hugely compelling record.
Opener ‘I Wrote This Song’ begins the record with real purity. Accompanying his subtle vocal with a sparse piano track, McCormick captures the beauty of writing a love song without delving into the nuances of love. This is a finely crafted and expertly realised piece that feels like a classic-in-waiting.
‘My Black Heart’ follows, and immediately McCormick shifts his attentions towards hard rock before exploring ‘50s diner music with the melodic ‘Sleepwalking.’ Four songs in and we hit the album’s centrepiece, the gospel-like ‘I Found God’, possessing an uplifting quality in the vein of U2’s ‘One’. Dealing with the themes of love, death and spirituality, there is real depth to this Mortal Coil.
Mid-way through, the album takes a dip, though normal service is resumed with the Costello-esque ‘I Made My Baby Cry’, before the haunting ‘Harm’s Way’ – the track featured by Mel Gibson on the album of songs inspired by The Passion Of The Christ.
Mortal Coil is often superb, McCormick’s fine grasp of song structure and shifting vocal styles shining through. Indeed far from being a cash-in this is a record that would grace any collection – and is likely to win over even the most hardened cynics.