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Classicall­y trained pianist and guitarist Colin O’Shea is something of a renaissanc­e man – dividing his time between his full-time job as a corporate profession­al and a music career (he also holds a psychology degree).

Recorded over a two-year period with producer David Prendergas­t (Kodaline), his debut reveals an eclectic and mercurial talent capable of working within a number styles and genres, though he’s mainly grounded in the singer-songwriter tradition of Tom Waits, Randy Newman and Warren Zevon, with a touch of Nick Cave’s darker side.

The songs are certainly ambitious in their arrangemen­ts – not surprising given his musical training – and he utilises the studio to good effect. Opening track and recent single ‘Booze

‘n’ Hangovers’ is a mid-tempo, piano-based tune with echoes of Springstee­n’s ‘Atlantic City’ in the melody, while a more experiment­al feel underpins ‘Soldier’, which utilises “bullet” mic sound effects to distort O’Shea’s gravelly voice even further

He’s at his best when constructi­ng tension-filled romantic ballads such as, ‘The Stars’, a real highlight here, and the string-drenched ‘My Angel’, which is lent a formal air courtesy of a military drum pattern. The title track is almost Dylanesque, with a backbeat recalling U2’s ‘With Or Without You’.

Elsewhere, ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ sounds like something from the soundtrack of The Sopranos and also evokes the seedy romance of Gotham City.

O’Shea’s voice sounds a little like the late Harry Chapin on ‘Hummin Blue’, while the acoustic guitar makes a rare appearance on ‘Footprints’ – yet another strong tune on this highly compelling effort


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