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Villian Records is home to Richard Murphy of Michael Knight and Ronan Hession of Mumblin’ Deaf Ro and is the type of label I generally fall for (I’m still pining for Dead Elvis Records after all these years). First time around I dismissed Mumblin’ Deaf Ro for the wonders of Michael Knight’s debut but I am slowly becoming consumed by Ro’s second album ‘The Herring and the Brine’. It has taken a bit of time as Hession’s voice is a curious cross-pollination of the vocal genes of Nick Drake and Kerry’s Christy Hennessy. Try not to let this put you off though as there is genuine sincerity in his delivery that makes the colourful themes all the more believable. Where else would you find subject matter of the likes of the tale of the exhausted novice priest or the murder of two sisters in rural Ireland? The music for its part is sparse and generally acoustic but somehow sounds much bigger than it actually is. ‘What’s To Be Done With El Salvador’ is wonderfully percussive and Hession raises his vocal game to sound almost sprightly despite the none too happy wordage. ‘The Herring and the Brine’ is the best Irish album I’ve heard so far this year and is destined to become a quiet classic. It is officially released next weekend in the Sugar Club, Dublin and the €10 entry entitles you to a free copy of the album. KD
Mumblin’ Deaf Ro – What’s To Be Done With El Salvador
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