Damian O'Neill - An Crann (Dimple Discs)

Damian O’Neill – An Crann (Dimple Discs)

Looking for music that fits this time of year without, y’know, mentioning the C-word? Then look no further than this, the third long-player (my copy is on beautiful pale blue vinyl – and ahead of release, too!) from multi-instrumentalist Damian O’Neill.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s cliched to be cynical at Christmas, but this is a think of beauty, far away from so much of what we are hearing at this time of year. It’s a mostly instrumental album, and what vocals are used are used sparingly, making them all the more effective.

An Crann‘ is Irish for the tree, which O’Neill has taken as a symbol of growth and inspiration. The opening track ‘Mas O Menos‘ has a sixties feel to it, in terms of a slightly psychedelic feel to it, and the keys used within (think more Stereolab than The Doors.) ‘Malin Head Imminent‘ clocks in at over six minutes, and gives us an idea of what might have happened if Nick Drake had sat in with Pink Floyd circa Ummagumma. There’s a definite Irish folk feel to proceedings, in terms of a lilt and spirit, more than anything else, written as it was with memories of childhood holidays in Donegal. Perhaps the highlight is ‘Lament For Loughinisland‘ which has a wonderful droning effect.

The second side of the album is in a gentle contrast to the first, and even without lyrics, seems more hopeful in its feelings. The highlight here might well be ‘La Tengo‘ which feels more summery than much of the rest of the album, but even when I write about highlights, that’s not really a foot put wrong here.

It’s perhaps yet another reminder of the advantages of albums being made at home, as this one mainly was over the last couple of years, and put out on his own label. No A&R person worrying that they ‘don’t hear a single’ or what tracks are going to be sent to radio. And thank heavens for that.

As it’s the last paragraph of this review, I’m now going to play my trump card. If the name Damian O’Neill sounds familiar to you (and it bloody well should, frankly) that’s because he is indeed the same man who is guitarist in Stroke City’s finest, The Undertones (and also of That Petrol Emotion). Yes, this is wildly different from much of what you may have heard of his work before, but judge it on its own merits, rather than going on about how different it sounds to *insert track or album of your choice.* I was fortunate enough to be sent this album, but I would have been thrilled if I had spent my own money on it. The editor has been nagging us for our end of year lists for a while now, and this has shaken that list up quite considerably…


Damian O'Neill - An Crann (Dimple Discs)
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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.