Michael J Sheehy – Distance is the Soul of Beauty

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Citing the role of a stay at home dad as his ‘main gig’, singer songwriter Michael J Sheehy takes time out of that particular occupation, mainly evenings and weekends, to put together a collection of new songs for this, his first solo album in ten years.  As Michael himself points out, these are late night recordings that feel intimate and gentle, which is precisely what they are.  There’s no smoke and mirrors here, the homemade tracks sound homemade, with simple arrangements and sensitive guitar playing, yet with some cloying programmed beats in places, which don’t really add anything.  I think “We Laugh More Than We Cry” would have been much better with the sort of arrangement awarded “Turn Back From Home” and “Tread Gently, Leave No Scar”.  

Occasionally sounding like a cross between Boo Hewerdine and Scott Walker, with a little bit of Leonard Cohen thrown in, certainly on “Judas Hour”, Michael’s voice takes the spotlight throughout, with a further focus on the lyrics. Though for the most part written during the first year of his daughter’s life, the songs are more to do with how Michael was feeling during that period, rather than having any direct reference to fatherhood.  Apparently these ten songs are part of a broader project, so it’s likely there will be more in due course and maybe one or two about that particular rite of passage.  As the current state of affairs continue with much uncertainty, perhaps its a good time to delve further into this sort of writing.