The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - LAUREN MUR­PHY

By the Rule Uni­ver­sal Ire­land

★★★ It’s no slur on Mick Flan­nery’s talent to sug­gest that his back cat­a­logue is not ex­actly loaded with mu­si­cal pick-me-ups. But the Cork­man has found his niche in the gravel-voiced trou­ba­dour mar­ket. Flan­nery’s fourth record, writ­ten dur­ing a tem­po­rary (and pre­sum­ably lonely) re­lo­ca­tion to Berlin, has its charms but re­lies more than usual on sparse, slow­burn­ing bal­ladry. Many of these songs are con­cerned with sel­f­re­proach­ful lyrics (Get What You Give, Own It) and love turned sour (Out to Sea), but Flan­nery’s ex­or­cis­ing of his ghosts is of­ten un­bear­ably down­beat. There’s real beauty in the latenight in­ti­macy of Even Now, and The Small Fire builds to an en­joy­ably in­tense, vi­o­lin-laden cli­max. How­ever, too many of these songs are sim­ply too sombre to gain plea­sure from. One to ad­mire rather than en­joy. mick­flan­nery.com Down­load: The Small Fire, Even Now

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