Pace and bal­ance, dark­ness and light

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - | MUSIC REVIEWS - TA­LOS Wild Alee ★★★★ BRIAN KEANE


Feel Good Lost Ar­chi­tect by trade, mu­si­cian by call­ing, Cork man Eoin French’s de­but bears the hall­marks of its un­rushed, no­madic ges­ta­tion. Writ­ten and recorded in Iceland, Dublin and west Cork with co­pro­ducer Ross Dowl­ing, Wild Alee ful­fils the prom­ise of sev­eral ear-catch­ing sin­gles re­leased over the past three years. Those songs – of which Teth­ered

Bones, In Time and Your Love Is An Is­land fea­ture here – high­lighted a new tal­ent worth mon­i­tor­ing, their lonely, in­tro­spec­tive cores wrapped in warm pop hooks. Pop songs not made for the dance­floor.

Live shows and the ad­di­tion of a six-piece band helped French tease out fur­ther ideas and an­gles within his com­po­si­tions, al­low­ing the work to form in its own time. Join the dots be­tween James Blake, Jon Hopkins and Lon­don Gram­mar to get a clearer vi­sion of where French is com­ing from.

Lis­ten to his won­der­ful falsetto, the re­verb-drenched gui­tar and bub­bling elec­tronic un­der­cur­rents on the likes of brood­ing slow-burn­ers Ru­n­away and Odyssey to get a sense of where he can go. Odyssey, in par­tic­u­lar, goes straight for the heart. A love song weighed down with sor­row, the de­fin­i­tive state­ment of a rest­less soul, it switches at its mid­point from spa­cious bal­lad to a spec­tac­u­lar, rous­ing call to arms for the for­lorn.

Sim­i­larly This Is Us Col­lid­ing serves as a com­fort­ing an­chor for the rud­der­less, dream­ily build­ing to a multi-lay­ered crescendo.

It’s not all ec­static pay­offs and as­pir­ing an­thems. The care­ful track po­si­tion­ing of more acous­tic num­bers such as the Satie-es­que pi­ano and voices of Piece(s) or the Beck­ett-in­spired Endgame pro­vide pace and bal­ance to pro­ceed­ings and the darker 209 and cin­e­matic in­stru­men­tal Wet­lands signpost the wide au­ral ex­panse French can lay claim to.

A ring­ing en­dorse­ment of pa­tience and com­mit­ment in fol­low­ing the cre­ative path as well as a spec­tac­u­larly as­sured col­lec­tion in­spired by th­ese shores and be­yond, Wild Alee de­serves an equally far-reach­ing au­di­ence. talosta­

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