Some movements can be too sudden. The type that catch you off guard and leave the ground feeling less than solid beneath your feet. There has been an alteration to the sound of Deaf Joe, an abrupt movement and while it is not a whole scale transformation, it is enough to make you wonder what exactly happened in his life to mimic the artistic change. Whether it was simply a man learning to take control of his sound, achieving something he’d always wanted to do, or maybe an unwillingness to create the same album twice. For whatever reason, it’s a shock to the system, but not a bad one.
This is Deaf Joe’s second album, a follow up to the Burrowings from 2012. The album shows an alteration in style and production from the folk/ rock album that went before. The percussion is raw and industrial, sounding like the rumblings from inside a machine at times or the thumping beat of a train, or a metronome like footstep on the opening track ‘For Each and Every One’. There is very little guitar, with piano often taking the focus. The opening three tracks all include vocals but from this point the album takes an abrupt change as tracks four and five are instrumental soundscapes filling the centre of the album. The production is key to these tracks, and they are more the product of many hours in the studio, or at the pc as opposed to the simplicity of song writing. ‘Something That Needs Nothing’ is an Eno esque track that wafts and flutters past your ears.
This album marks Deaf Joe out as an artist willing to take risks and committed to developing his sound. It’s an album that can take many hours listening and you’ll discover more each time. At 35 minutes long it doesn’t over stay its welcome and leaves you wanting to hear more. Sometimes surprises can be a good thing!
Deaf Joe/ Delphi have taken an unusual approach and released a hard back book along with the CD, containing images and text of a distant Ireland. It has the look and feel of the sort of volume released by small run poetry publishers, and is a lovely thing in itself! It is available here.
You can hear the album on Deaf Joe’s web site here.
1. For Each And Every One
2. For The Men Who Put Them There
3. For The Sticks And The Stones
4. For The Skulls And The Bones
5. Something That Needs Nothing
6. From the Heights of a Dream 4:22
7. Through Things Never Said 3:53
8. The Warmest of Hearts 5:08
9. In Search of a Spark