Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5
Uncompromising, intense and unique. Laura Mulcahy blends ordinary and extra ordinary. Laura’s voice can be layered gossamer beauty or it can be a raw punk folk eldritch. Against Mulcahy’s acoustic guitar on tracks like “Real Estate” or “Murmuration” there is a raw folk quality, untampered or untamed beauty like Gay Woods or Vashti Bunyan, sprinkled with a little shimmering misty magic. But within the psych folk swirl there is a more than a little Marianne Faithfull bite and vim. Elsewhere on “Dreams”, “Monster Lullaby” and “Requiem”, choirs of backing vocals, evoke the stately gothic atmosphere of “Dead Can Dance”, while as bright as Lisa Hannigan Laura skips over the top of chiming guitars like a proto Cocteau Twin. Summoning dark observational lyrics like a folk chanteuse or a cross between Sinead O’Connor and Morrissey at times this is like a strange Country Celtic Folk Rock collision, with bitter lyrics delivered deadpan over upbeat music. The song “Moonshine” says it all in its title alone, a melding of images of brutal hooch and beautiful night washed landscape. Part of the power of this album is the contrast between the purity of the voice and the stark uncompromising lyrics it delivers. “Fire in the Belly” another album highlight, adds electronic trip hop to the mix and its title seems apt for this set of songs and Mulcahy herself. Occasionally she delivers a piece of strange pure wonder, “Lizard Lady” with its woozy keyboard, or the off kilter classical Harpsicord led “The Affair” sound like a round the piano singalong in an afterlife pub for the dammed, led by Peter Hammill. “Cuckoo”, “Even Stephen” and “Legs Eleven” are Laura packing no punches, spitting out fire or letting off steam, railing against the skewed eye of the media backed by Wayne P Sheeney’s skilful layers of razer edged guitar. “Supper at the Cousins” on one hand sounds like Victoria Wood channelling The League Of Gentlemen, expect that trying to make light of the most uncompromising and painfully frank songs I have heard in a long while seems crass. Powerful and disquieting. Dick Gaughan once said in song “for me to help make the most people happy I must make you even more sad and angry now.” Throw together the charming uniqueness of Ivor Cutler, the bruised lyricism of Sinead O’Connor and the raw crystalline beauty of Nico performing “The End” with a harmonium and you have Laura Mulcahy. Uncompromising, intense and unique. Much of this album isn’t going to be played on the radio, an often raw and edgy listen it is never the less an emotional and rewarding album.