Will Russell

WILL RUSSELL

Irish music royalty delivers in spades

Paddy Casey’s multi-platinum selling debut album, Amen (So Be It) formed a meaty chunk of the soundtrack to the final dog days of 1990s Dublin. Released in 1999, it was the calling card of an artist who would be at the forefront of the Irish music scene throughout the noughties – his week-long sold-out residency poster from 2004 that hangs in the Olympia Theatre bears ample testimony to just how thoroughly he had captured the Irish imagination.

Released in 2003, his second record Living became the biggest selling album in Ireland in 2004, went a gazillion times platinum, and its ‘Saints and Sinners’ now arguably forms part of the Great Irish Songbook.

So why have we had to wait the guts of a decade for a Paddy Casey record? Fortunately Turn This Ship Around is a sprawling gem of a double album, made up of two distinct movements. The first receives the full kitchen treatment – brass, electric, strings, synths – while the second is mellower, more acoustic. In both environments, he performs magnificently.

Without expressly stating it, on Turn This Ship Around, Paddy recurrently explores Dublin as a theme. ‘When She Dances’ struts its summer streets. ‘Everything Must Change’ is mystic soul for the same skies. You can envisage lead single ‘Won’t Take Much’ blasting out from car stereos across the city.

‘Hearts Dancing’ spectacularly displays his ability as a balladeer. His is the voice of a thousand performing nights: a Crown Alley busker who plays for his life, as the sun dips and the merry road is taken. On the majestical rip-it-up-and-start-again of ‘Let Go This Stone And Rise’, the singer asks: “How long will you wait for?” Hopefully, not nearly as long next time, Paddy.

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