Ken O'Duffy's debut album drips with class and great melodies
Dublin music veteran Ken O'Duffy has certainly been round the houses. As front man of the superlative Saville he put out three albums in the 2000s, in 2015 and 2016 he released Songs of Absolution and The Autumn House with scene super group The Citizens, while further back again he even did time with next big thing manqué Light a Big Fire in the late '80s.
On his debut solo album he’s found a sweet spot between Ray Davies-like elegance, Mod balladry, and vaguely psychedelic retro pop. Written and performed by O’Duffy with assistance from one Ingmar Kiang and recorded and mixed at Hey Nineteen (another sign of quality) studio in Greystones, every song here shines with urbane class, songwriter’s craft and beautiful melodies.
Some songs are Kinksian, others recall glittering sixties French pop and late period Weller would be proud to have penned at least three of these minor gems. An encounter with a mystical femme fatale on the sinister Where The Water Rushes Grow sounds like it belongs on The Village Green Preservation Society, the superb title track rolls along on timpani and sparkling guitar, while O’Duffy’s moonlit croon sounds right at home on the slinky bossa nova shuffle of Between Wake and Sleep. Midnight Blue even approaches Steely Dan levels of sophistication.
Equal parts languor, elegant ennui, and chiming chamber pop, this is a real treat from a master of technique.
Alan Corr @CorrAlan2