Mango Music – 2001 – 37 minutes

Although Steve Fanagan's sparse songs can be an acquired taste, 'There is Hope' is much more accessible than debut album 'By Way Of'. Having discovered his strengths as a solo performer in the wake of the break-up of his former band, Dead Man's Flats, Fanagan has gigged tirelessly, developing the art of making a crowd stop mid-conversation to listen to his passionately wrought music.

In the stark intimacy of 'Reaching For You' you can hear Fanagan's fingers moving across the guitar strings; he lays himself bare on 'One Thousand' as he sings, unaccompanied, "the only one I want is you". Accompanied by brothers Dan and Rob Sullivan (guitar and bass), who play with the band Songs: Ohia, and Joan of Arse's Ross Hackett (guitar) and Joss Moorkens (drums), Fanagan's slow-built intensity is occasionally allowed to break loose, albeit with restraints, on 'Done and Dusted' and 'There is Hope'.

With traces of the minimalist beauty of artists like Songs: Ohia and Low, Steve Fanagan has shown himself well capable of producing quiet music that speaks loud.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Reaching For You - The Things I Draw - Done And Dusted - One Thousand - Farewell - For Your Words - There Is Hope - By My Breathe