It’s nearly twenty years since Eleanor McEvoy was launched into our consciousness with ‘A Woman’s Heart’. McEvoy though, even then, always seemed more relevant than many of her counterparts on the album.
McEvoy has a knack of writing songs with memorable melodies and honest lyrics. Her new album ‘I’d Rather Go Blonde’ is no different. The first single from the album ‘Look Like Me’ is an upbeat track with minimalist production about being yourself and conforming to what others think.
The combination of upbeat and slower songs throughout the album are paced so each one is given the attention it deserves. ‘Just for the Tourists’ is a midtempo-ed track that builds, with a memorable refrain and melody.
At 2 minutes 11 seconds the title track ‘I’d Rather Go Blonde’ is the shortest track on the album. As on ‘Look At Me’, McEvoy has gone for a minimalist production but it doesn’t seem like that. The fusion of drums and string section are more than enough to fill your auditory senses.
Painting a picture with words and music is a fantastic knack to have. The life of a working musician in ‘Away From You’ does exactly that. It’s a thought provoking track with beautiful production and the best use of a banjo since that ‘Lose Your Way’ song from Dawson’s Creek.
The first religious reference I can remember in McEvoy’s music was on ‘What’s Following Me’s Precious Little. The church organ sound and ‘monk’ singing in ‘Deliver Me’ are right up that street before Ms McEvoy utters a single note. Here we find clever plays on words, a gospel-esqe drum rhythm and a seriously catchy ‘refrain’. Would love to hear this live with a huge gospel choir.
One of the endearing things about Eleanor McEvoy is that throughout her career she has never tried to change her vocal style, meaning her actual accent comes across. Being successfully able to get some Gaeilge into a song without it sounding out of place, is now another favourite. She does exactly that in ‘Shibboleth’, a song with delicate vocals and childlike production and almost like a lullaby.
McEvoy’s ability to write honest lyrics make her songs real and relevant. One of the many standout tracks is ‘Take You Home’, subtle string section, great drums, really great vocals altogether seem to lay McEvoy’s soul bare for all to see. Sublime.
Sometimes towards the end of an album an artist puts not the best tracks in there. This album doesn’t have any of those. ‘The Thought of You’ is a bluesy affair, if I ever make a movie with a scene of musicians in a smokey bar, Ms McEvoy, you’ve got the gig.
‘Harbour’ is this album’s ‘Whisper A Prayer To The Moon’, subtle and melodic, you’ll be singing it without even realizing. ‘For Avoidance Of Any Doubt’ is a clever play on a solicitors correspondence with a client following the non return of a phone call. McEvoy choses to end the album with her sultry rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘Good Times’.
With this album, Eleanor McEvoy has outclassed herself with her lyrics, vocals and overall production. Twenty years into a career? Sounds like she’s just been warming up.