So you haven’t heard of Cormac O’Caoimh? You’re not alone, but if there’s any justice in this mad musical world, those who have not heard of this man will be in the minority very soon. ‘The Moon Loses Its Memory’ is the third full length release from the Corkonian singer-songwriter and it is a hugely impressive endeavour. Don’t be fooled by the cold blues of the album cover – this is an album of immense warmth. There is real craft and guile in the song-writing on display here. Yet, while the songs all feel expertly measured, they flow completely naturally. It’s quite the skill to match these two facets of song craft and it is a testament to the maturity of O’Caoimh’s style.
On top of this there is excellent musicianship to savour, both from O’Caoimh himself, and from his troupe of musicians. In particular Colum Pettit adds beautiful flourishes of violin which are sprinkled throughout the album, but are particularly memorable on Solid.
Underlining everything, however, are O’Caoimh’s tender vocals and lyrics which, again, feel completely natural and unselfconscious. Sounding like an old friend, we are compelled to listen to what this man has to say. This is particularly evident on You Stole December and Silver As Mercury, where the vocals are brought to the fore.
Opening track, Maze Of Your Heart, immediately sucks you in with its simple riff, chamber pop sensibilities and O’Caoimh’s slightly frantic vocals. Yellow Crumbs sounds like Lambchop on a good day and the title track is sparse indie-pop reminiscent of Field Music. Somehow, despite O’Caoimh’s genre-hopping, the whole thing just flows beautifully. You could say he is like the male Julie Feeney.
The songs are also full of surprises. On Solid a fairly standard guitar riff is suddenly joined by an intricate violin line for the chorus. On Morning the backing vocals and violin blend together so seamlessly that it is hard to tell which is which. On Basement the guitar riff is underscored by an electronic bass drum and further electronics swoop in towards the end of the song, undercover.
It is worth noting also that the longest track on this album is three minutes and twenty-one seconds. Most of the fifteen tracks come in under the three-minute mark. For an album with the sheer volume of ideas vying for position that this one contains, this in itself is a remarkable achievement.
“Not enough people love me” laments O’Caoimh on Silver As Mercury. We fully agree, but hopefully that’s all about to change.