You’ve got to like any album which credits someone for their “unwitting appearance”. The person in question here is one Stephen Clinch and he makes his contribution via a phone messaging machine on this solid second album from Brian Kenealy. For younger readers and older ones still lost in a fog of nineties confusion, Kenealy was the guitarist with most excellent Kilkenny glam pusses Engine Alley. He provided a good deal of that band’s flashy pop smarts and he hasn’t lost his flair for hook-filled tunes and weird-brain lyrics on Hiems Transit, which is Latin for "winter is passed" and the motto of his old school. His guitars take on an aquatic fluidity on the psychedelic drift of Dancing With The Demons and his wayward and limited vocals suit the ramshackle loveliness of Bitter Girl while Our Friend has the same melancholic feel of his old band, as does the gently hypnotic instrumental of the title track. This is a gentle and tuneful debut that also knows when to rock out.
* Brian will play tunes from Hiems Transiit and Engine Alley songs with Canice Kenealy at the Stags Head, Dublin on Wednesday June 19th from 9.00pm.