Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Paddy Casey - The Secret Life of

In 2007 Paddy Casey released the rather lack luster 'Addicted To Company' as the tide turned against the bloated singer/songwriter scene with the youth of Ireland choosing to immerse itself in the virgining post-rock and electronica scenes instead. Casey and co quickly disappeared from public view and it seemed his creative well had run dry just like the singer/songwriter scene that bore him. A far cry from 1999 when Casey released his impressive d├ębut 'Amen (So Be It)'.

Fast forward to 2012 and Paddy Casey is set to make a somewhat surprising return to the music scene after a five years hiatus with 'The Secret Life of...' As the title would suggest Casey has been through a metamorphosis of sorts behind closed doors with the dreaded acoustic guitar taking somewhat of a backseat, though it does make an appearance from time to time. The album has the air of an artist indulging himself in his guilty pleasures, whilst simultaneously trying to carve a niche for himself in a radically changed musical landscape. As a result the material is eclectic and the results are mixed to say the least.

When Casey plays it safe harking back to the good old days on tracks such as Tell Her and Close Your Eyes the material falls predictably flat. But when Casey is bold and pushes himself outside of his perceived comfort zone things get much more exciting. Even when things go horribly wrong on the cringy That's Just The Way It Goes you can respect Casey for offering some social commentary though by comparison the track is a poor man's Fortunate Son. The meandering lullaby There Is Light attempts to create an ephemeral soundscape but ultimately it's X Factor bland. Indeed far too often there is a safe Saturday night prime time boy band sheen to the material.

Wait is one of the tracks which falls comfortably into the latter category however, on this occasion it's a whimsical radio friendly masterclass which harks back to pops heyday. Rise and Shine is a twee but enjoyable sing along Beatles throwback. While The Love Harmonica sees Casey successfully delve into swamp blues. Show Me Yours will surely be a single thanks to its radio friendly melodic Steve Wall style chorus.

In the end The Secret Life Of Paddy Casey isn't that different from the widely known life of Paddy Casey except it's slightly more upbeat. If this is the best collection of songs Casey could pen after five years of solid writing then it's a very paltry return. But if it's the first batch of songs he's written after a long break then it's conceivable that Paddy Casey could be firing on all cylinders next time round.

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