Ambient, hauntingly intimate and very moving, this is something rather special from the singer-songwriter from Carrick-on-Shannon
Ailie Blunnie’s songs sound like they were spirited up from the very landscape of her home in North-West Ireland. Her stirring debut album is a haunting mix of the elemental and the temporal but it’s also shot through with a quirky sense of humour and a grasp of classic songwriting.
Four years in the making, on West To The Evening Sun, Blunnie, who has the vocal purity of Sinead Lohan and Agnes Obel, and producer Daragh Dukes play around with electronica, more traditional song structures and Irish folk in a series of haunting soundscapes and mood pieces.
Beat Of Your Heart and There is No Sound, with its halting, ticking percussion, are sombre moments of reflection and on the superb Happy New Year she recalls Joni Mitchell’s The Last Time I Saw Richard. Elsewhere, the sudden vocal eruption on the sonorous Would That You May has all the early power of Sinead O’Connor on The Lion and the Cobra.
After all that experimentation, the title track is a strikingly conventional folk song with a gorgeous melody which could have been penned by Jimmy McCarthy. The ambitious spoken word piece Love Song To A Bicycle is an internal monologue/stream of consciousness in which she falls head over wheels for an inanimate object of desire on a lonely country road.
It’s a vaguely jazzy confection and in anybody else’s hands it would be a twee mess, but Blunnie makes it a surreal and magical vignette. She really is a serious talent.
Alan Corr @corralan