Album Reviews

Adrian Crowley – Dark Eyed Messenger – Album Review

Adrian Crowley – Dark Eyed Messenger – Album Review by Killian Laher

Galway native Adrian Crowley has ploughing his own furrow for nearly 20 years, making glacially slow, thoughtful music across seven albums or so.  His eighth album was recorded in New York with producer Thomas Bartlett (who has produced Sufjan Stevens and Magnetic Fields amongst others).  True to form, opening track The Wish starts with deathly slow piano as the track gradually builds, sounding like the unholy union of Bill Callahan and Leonard Cohen, as static becomes more prominent, the track ending in a haze of noise.  If this is not your thing, I suggest you stop reading here.

What Crowley has done here is to channel Leonard Cohen, but in an understated rather than imitated way.  Halfway to Andalucia is very much in this mould, with a relatively simple keyboard backing, as is the low key waltz Little Breath along with the bleaker And So Goes The Night.  Unhappy Seamstress has a melody reminiscent of Cohen’s earliest material on Songs of Leonard Cohen but with a modern production and a simple refrain “first a sigh and then a curse”.

On the other hand Silver Birch Tree is somewhat in debt to Callahan’s former band Smog, as are the black as tar Valley of Tears and The Photographs.  The latter is deceptively simple on the surface, but it’s a track of pure yearning, one to get completely lost in.  Great swirls of keyboards provide the backdrop for Crowley’s commanding voice, investing his lyrics with meaning and resonance “a steeple at dawn against an Amsterdam sky… an empty vista in Williamsburg”.

It’s probably as good an album as Adrian Crowley has released to date.  A sombre album such as this is not going to recruit many new listeners, but his followers will hold it dear over the long dark evenings.

Track List –

1. The Wish
2. Halfway to Andalucia
3. Silver Birch Tree
4. Little Breath
5. Valley of Tears
6. The Photographs
7. Unhappy Seamstress
8. Cathering In The Dunes
9. Lullaby To A Lost Astronaut
10. And So Goes The Night
11. Still This Desire

The Wish –

 

 

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Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music

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