Delivering a second album is fraught with danger, as initial success often leads to artists playing it safe and delivering more of the same to fans, often with diminished returns.
Thankfully, CMAT has resisted any impulses to revisit scenarios like being publicly humiliated in fast food restaurants or the comfort blanket powers of soft drinks which imbued her debut, instead opting to be bigger and bolder than ever before on the follow-up to her aspirational debut, ‘If My Wife New I’d Be Dead’, which saw the Dubliner use the collective power of positive affirmation to turn herself into an international teen pop sensation.
‘Crazymad, For Me’ sees Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson ambitiously joining the like of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and David Bowie in tackling the most ambitious of musical pursuits, the concept album. The record builds itself around a 47-year-old time-travelling woman escaping a bad relationship. Perhaps in the late 2040s or early ’50s we’ll see CMAT star in the motion picture ‘Crazymad, For Me’, but for now, it’s hard not to visualise Legally Blonde-era Jennifer Coolidge in the leading role as the album unfurls.
Norwegian producer Matias Tellez (Girl In Red, Gracie Abrams) ensures CMAT’s vision balances perfectly between the widescreen pop sheen of duet ‘Where Are Your Kids Tonight?’ with John Grant, who proves to be the perfect foil for CMAT, and the Laurel Canyon, alt-country vibes of tracks like ‘Can’t Make Up My Mind’.
Some of the album’s more radio-friendly moments, such as ‘Have Fun’ and ‘Stay For Something’, see CMAT venturing into co-writing with the likes of Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Rob Milton (Holly Humberstone, Easy Life) with great success.
‘If My Wife New I’d Be Dead’ showcased CMAT’s ability to tackle serious subjects with humour, often placing herself at the butt of the joke. ‘Crazymad, For Me’ continues that trend but also sees CMAT standing her ground and saying, ‘Actually, I blamed myself for things going wrong, but now I see you were to blame too.’
CMAT utilises pop culture references such as Sex & The City and Gilmore Girls to great effect while Belgian footballing legend Vicent Kompany’s chrome dome is used as a visual aid to depict the Dubliner at her lowest ebb.
Such original storytelling marks CMAT out as a writer operating at an elevated level far beyond the traditional pop constraints of boy meets girl. The quality of ‘Crazymad, For Me’ flatly dismisses any notions that CMAT may have been a flash in the pan and establishes her without question alongside the likes of Conor O’Brien as one of Ireland’s finest songwriters.