Roots

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MALOJIAN

South­lands ★★★

Twenty30

Malojian have been through var­i­ous in­car­na­tions, firstly as a duo called Cat Malojian, then briefly as a trio. At the heart of ev­ery man­i­fes­ta­tion, Belfast’s Ste­vie Scul­lion – the softly-sung song­writer with a knack for craft­ing wee-hours folk tunes – has steered the ship safely to port. Scul­lion’s sec­ond “solo” al­bum is a fuller-sound­ing af­fair than its pre­de­ces­sor, thanks to ses­sion play­ers who give songs such as Com­mu­nion Girls and No

Alibi an en­joy­ably idio­syn­cratic in­diepop buzz, and It Ain’t Easy a dreamy alt.coun­try flavour. The skele­tal folk tunes are less en­gag­ing, with Scul­lion’s breathy, se­cre­tive vo­cals too slight to com­mand at­ten­tion in any se­ri­ous way. Still, de­spite a lack of pur­pose, there is imag­i­na­tive songcraft lurk­ing in some un­ex­pected places. malojian.com

LAU­REN MUR­PHY

GAVIN GLASS

Sun­day Songs ★★★★

Self-re­leased

Gavin Glass’s im­pres­sive fourth al­bum of what is now fan­ci­fully termed “Eire­cana” strikes a re­flec­tive, al­most melan­cholic note. The sense of time pass­ing – “we got old be­fore our time,” Glass sings on the gor­geous, coun­try-tinged ti­tle track – per­vades al­most all eight songs. So does a sense of loss: how is it that song­writ­ers never look back and laugh? The Dubliner is a Jack of many trades (among them a noted pro­ducer and a mem­ber of Lisa Han­ni­gan’s band), but clearly a mas­ter singer­song­writer. His songs carry real weight, whether they be big, pas­sion­ate dec­la­ra­tions of bruised ex­pe­ri­ence ( Bet­ter Left Alone or

Rise & Fall) or more stripped-back af­fairs such as First Stone. The pro­duc­tion is top-notch, rich and dra­matic with steel gui­tar, vi­o­lin and pi­ano to the fore, while Glass’s voice adds mean­ing at ev­ery turn.

JOE BREEN

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