Dublin outfit Hidden Highways have just released their debut album, Old Hearts Reborn. Harry Guerin hitches a ride.
Road trip records - the ones that inspire you to pick somewhere and just get going in your very own movie. Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, Tom Waits' Closing Time and Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska are three of the greatest, but there's always room for a new soundtrack, and that's where the aptly-monikered Hidden Highways come in.
Like Plush's More You Becomes You (another one for when you're clocking up the miles), Old Hearts Reborn feels like it was captured in one session between dusk and dawn, when Carol Anne McGowan and Tim V Smyth's alone-at-the-end-of-the-bar sound would be at its most powerful and poignant. Brevity only adds to the beauty; at 34 minutes even the quickest and most familiar of journeys can become something new while listening.
These songs, both gentle and gothic, have that homespun feel, but every one of them has the potential to be opened into something orchestral, without leaving any of the intimacy behind.
That's something for McGowan and Smyth to think about for the next album. In the meantime you'd go a right distance to hear them play this one.