Cruel and Tender Ways album reviewHaving warmed up crowds for the likes of U2, Bob Dylan and Simple Minds while on drumming duty with rock legends In Tua Nua throughout the 80s, it’s clear Paul Byrne is no novice when it comes to making music. However after over 30 years in the industry, a career that has seen him work with Shane MacGowan, Sinead O’Connor and Jack L to name but a few, Paul has finally graced us with a debut solo album. And it was worth the wait.

‘Cruel and Tender Ways’ is a collection of songs Paul has penned over the past 25 years along with a few newly written tracks, such as the radio friendly I’ve Got You, thrown in for good measure. Paul is no stranger to the microphone having laid down the vocals for In Tua Nua’s breakthrough track The Long Acre in 1988. In fact Paul’s powerful vocals are one of the stand out features on this record and are particularly poignant on the tender piano ballad How To Come Back To You. He has the sort of velvety tones that wouldn’t be lost on one of Disney’s love sick male protagonists.

Love and heart break seem to have been Paul’s domineering muse when writing the album. From the heart-warming optimism of Your Love Is Heaven to the nostalgic lament Now You Are Gone, Paul takes us on a journey through life, love and relationships. That’s not to say that the aptly named ‘Cruel and Tender Ways’ is full of power ballads and slow sets. The album is littered with upbeat charismatic singles such as the infectious No Fixed Destination which features a beautiful duet with Bronagh Gallagher.

Paul was first introduced to the world of music on his 8th birthday when he was given a snare drum as a gift. Now, decades later after an illustrious career spanning over 30 years and umpteen different bands, Paul is set to release his first solo project. And here’s hoping that ‘Cruel and Tender Ways’ is much more than a one off adventure for Paul Byrne, but rather the beginning of a long and successful solo career.