Dylan Tighe doesn’t make it easy, that’s for sure. On his imaginatively titled debut, ‘Record’, the Dubliner has produced and written an album “in direct response to some of the treatment and medications I received”. With his background in acting and theatre, a dramatic, intense LP is expected – and that is exactly what Tighe delivers.
‘Record’ is a personal affair from start to finish, reflecting Tighe’s inner turmoil and a lifetime struggling with mental illness. While the overly busy Hades might seem to have too much going on initially; learning of Tighe’s history, it becomes obvious why this is so. Hades reflects the over-active mind, with layers upon layers of instrumentation. What starts as something simple, manifests into a bustling song, with the vocals getting lost among the synth, guitars and percussion.
The control conveyed in tracks Lamotrigne and The Ghost is in complete contrast to this energy. With the latter, Tighe creates a solemn air of isolation, separating himself from his medication and his illness. The arrangement of horns and strings paired with his low-key vocals makes for a haunting listen.
Tighe wallows for the majority of the album, which can make it a hard listen at times. “You don’t know what I’ve suffered/You don’t know what I’ve seen,” he sings on Opus – though it must be said the harmonies featured here are some of the best on the album.
Microscope is the stand-out track of this album. Twinkling synths and static piano in partnership with Tighe’s mellow range, give the record a much needed surge of electricity.
While it is clear that Tighe wanted to produce much more than just a stand-alone record, his attempts at dramatising the music left some tracks sounding over-embellished and lost, such as Emergency, which is like listening to three songs at once.
Tighe is at his best when accompanied by simple strings and drumbeats. Though the lyrics are simplistic, Nostalgia is a beautifully simple track which showcases his abilities as a singer-songwriter effortlessly.
‘Record’ is anything but a blasé affair. Most interestingly, on the closing track, For Artaud, an excerpt of a speech given by ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is used. The closer is as melodramatic as the others on the album, with an added sense of triumph – definitely one that needs to be appreciated in a live atmosphere.
For the most part, ‘Record’ is a slow burner. It is a multi-dimensional whirlwind of instruments, emotions and sounds. As a crowd-funded album, Tighe has achieved a lot and will go on to achieve more once he realises that less is often more.