I’ve loved this band and this album for years. Well, since they released this debut album and broke into mainstream music. The issue is, I have recently stumbled upon a few reviews for the album... somehow. Not lightly did I take to the comments being made and so here we are - me recommending an album to you in protest to those people who have slagged it off (they’re well within their rights to do so but I’m not convinced they give it a fair chance).
For a start, the band are from Dublin. Everybody loves the Irish - at least, I do. Everyone relates to music differently but by the same token, I believe people need to let the music connect with them - let the art leave an impression on you rather than endow the music yourself. What I mean by this is that music is written, inspired and given to the world with particular experiences in mind. When a critic sits down to review some music, they might sit in silence and concentrate on it, they might listen to it in the car - hell, they may even dance around the kitchen baking a red-velvet cake listening to it and that is how they review it. They assess it on their ability to enjoy the music whilst doing something else. The reason I mention this is because the reviews for this album are so mixed, I think some people were in the wrong place, doing the wrong things to fully connect themselves to the music.
I was in Uganda when I fell in love with the album. I would drive through streets of people not able to feed their children, not able to clothe themselves listening to tracks like ‘Big Bad World’ or ‘All Comes Down’ and it put a lot of things into perspective for me. Suddenly, the music took on an entirely different personality for me. It was bigger than the music industry and it was bigger than an album. It became a collection of emotions and teachings that had burst in my head - all at once, making sense. The need for love and hope was such a resounding message that as I went about my volunteering work, it was no longer just little me trying to do some good, I realised the scope of despair and chaos in the world today and just how much needs to change for us to evolve as a species.
I’ll stop preaching and start talking about the album, methinks…
The opening tracks are, admittedly, the best on the album. They’re thoughtful, emotive and powerful. All of them are progressive and ‘One Day’ doesn’t so much burst out of the starting gate as it does creep but quickly you realise it’s building to something much greater. I think that is what I’m trying to say. For me, the music is referring to things much greater than ourselves.
‘All I Want’ has been described as ‘cringy’ and generic’ but I think it is bigger than just the lyrics. The emotion in the song can be related to a great many things. I can’t help but feel like it isn’t just a song about finding love - it’s about finding the strength and courage to pull yourself out of a depressive state or someone who is alone and scared. They want to find somebody, anybody, to relate to. I may well be reading too much into the song but isn’t that what art is all about? Finding your own interpretation and not judging the work on a superficial level.
The album continues to inspire with ‘Love Like This’, ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Brand New Day’. ‘High Hopes’, in particular, is a belter and one of the better-known songs from the album. They encompass living life in the present, hope for the future, remembering the good times, finding strength in moving on from the bad times - they’re just beautiful and if you can find a connection to them, they’ll take on a whole new meaning.
And whilst I may have gone on a bit too much about greater purposes, the music talks to you on a very simple level (simple, not superficial). It addresses everyday struggles, for example, not just the break-up or girlfriend/boyfriend arguments but the slow breakdown in communication, the emotions you feel when alone with your thoughts or the brave face that we find ourselves putting on. After a while, each and every song, in its own way, takes your hand and tries to lift you up. ‘Talk’ and ‘Pray’ do just this - they sit you down and comfort you but then develop into adrenaline-fuelled crescendos that help you back to your feet.
Towards the end of the album, we have ‘Way Back When’ and ‘Perfect World’ which focus on the nostalgia of times been and gone. Times that have changed you as a person and allowed you to grow. Then, ending on a slightly psychedelic note, we have ‘Lose Your mind’. This song became important to me as I lay on the top of a 4x4 staring out at the stars. The sounds, noises and melody allowed me to recall and enjoy all the positive things I have in my life. From family to clothes, water to a home, Xbox to coffee, just everything. Everything I enjoy and love tumbled around my head in a strange euphoric mash-up. The sky was so clear I could see a thousand stars and I let the music just run through me. That’s what I mean when I say you should, on occasion, allow music to connect and come to you rather than the other way around.
I fully appreciate this is something more of a regaling of my listening experience than a recommendation, but it’s sort of part-and-parcel. This album needs to connect with you in a bigger sense than just on the radio or on a long journey to become as special as it can be. Just from sitting on a beach or hilltop looking out over the horizon, to coping with a particularly saddening experience. It’s all about visualising and working towards a perfect world or your own personal, perfect world…
Lol. Cheesy, I know. I apologise.
If you have anything to add or have had any strange epiphanic experiences with this album or any other music then let us know on Twitter or Facebook @MugwumpBlog