Pace and balance, darkness and light
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. talostalos.com