The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mark O'Connor - Robin's Egg Blues

Over the past decade, Mark O'Connor has worked with, played with, produced and recorded for countless musicians and bands to emerge from the Limerick rock scene. Robin's Egg Blues, the album launch for which occurred last Friday April 20th, is the culmination of a lengthly solo effort to finally deliver an album of his own to be proud of, which is precisely what we get with Robin's Egg Blues.

From the outset, where the delicate 'Carthago Delenda Est Blues' opens the album reflecting "only one thing that's worse than being left alone, and that's not being left alone", it is clear we are in for a personalised trip, where nothing is really held back. It's also an album that doesn't hold back sonically, in particular with track 'Lost In Translation', a dark sonic outlay with an uncompromising shoegaze guitar intensity that compares favourably with Dinosaur Jr. This is quite a varied album, full of surprises, everything from a localised Americana through intense shoegaze to guitar punk pop to near tragi-comedy rock n'roll. We get the personal, but also the fun "it's all about letting your shit out through the music", as it is put in track 'Gaypop Anthem 2005 Motherfucker'. An all-encompassing album which is oriented on loud shoegaze guitar but dipping in equal measure into melancholy and uninhibited humour, a common aspect which does run through it is a loose vocal style. It is a style which at times may take a bit of getting used to, but for this listener's money, is the signature which holds the album together.

A personalised album from Mark to the the very end, it also includes five bonus tracks from bands that he has previously worked with, including Moonboot, Tooth and Golf, before quaintly closing with an early recording from circa 1998, back to a time when he was still undertaking his Masters in Sound Engineering at the University of Limerick. He's come a long way since, but it's a fitting conclusion to the album. A few album tracks are currently available to download from his myspace profile, including the afore-mentioned 'Lost In Translation'. The album, which was recorded at his Balls Of Iron Studios, but mastered by the legenedary producer Kramer in the states, is released on his own Mockery Records label. It is distributed by RMG and available in all good record stores.

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