Straddling the line between folk and trad music, Breda Mayock’s debut does little to advance either genre. While the guitar is crisp and and her voice resonant, the album suffers from incredibly one-dimensional song-writing and moves at a mind-numbingly slow pace.
Each song feels as if it has been accidentally set 20 beats slower than intended, and every one of Mayock’s drawn out syllables feels like it’s own individual eternity in which Junior Cert English-level tripe such as ‘if your heart belonged to me I’d bring it to live by the sea’ is acceptable lyrical composition.
The album opens with Pine; a smart move, as it is by far and away the most bearable track. It is a nicely developed melody that leads into a rich, tension-releasing chorus. The problem is that by the time we actually get there, we are weary and decrepit on our deathbeds, and have forgotten all about ‘the forest’ that she had begun describing in a roundabout manner in the verse.
One Thing I Know picks the pace up a bit, but suffers from compositional problems that plague the whole album. A large part of the first verse line is merely duplicated rather than developed in the second verse, giving the song a monotonous feel. At four and a half minutes, it drags out a fairly simple melody with little progression.
Halfway There shakes things up a bit, introducing some atmospheric instrumentation, but this does little to regain the listener’s attention. The pace remains unrelentingly slow, and each song that breaches the four minute mark (and many do) feels torturously drawn out.
But if four minutes felt like a lifetime, Waterboy’s five minutes is something else entirely. Perhaps the lifetime of a tortoise, or a whale. The melody drags out and repeats itself over and over ad infinitum, or as it would appear.
Few albums have the charm to pull of titling a song Love Song. This is not one of them. The a capella album closer lacks ingenuity, as its title would suggest.
The singer, undeniably talented as she is, finds herself out of her depth in full length album territory. While there are redeeming features; uplifting choruses and nicely progressed melodies such as on opener and standout Pine, her inability to rock the boat lyrically or musically and a resoundingly slow pace leave the listener with little reason to finish the album in the first place, let alone return to it for a second helping.