(mini) album review ~ 'sea legs' ~ ciaran lavery & ryan vail

Ciaran Lavery & Ryan Vail
Genre: Sea~Folk
For Fans Of: Damien Rice, Keaten Henson, Tired Pony
Location: Belfast

Ciaran Lavery ~ Facebook//Twitter
Ryan Vail ~ Facebook//Twitter

A collision of worlds. The gentle, rousing voice of Ciaran Lavery, intertwined with the visceral soundscapes of electronic artist Ryan Vail. An intriguing collaboration, not by any means guaranteed success.

This is a record sounding every bit like it's surroundings. Recorded in the beautifully apt rain-drenched tides of Donegal, 'Sea Legs' takes it's listener on a wind swept journey, artfully crafted to a quiet timelessness. The skits which break up the record act like soliloquies, a reminder of where each track starts and duly remains. Subtly broken by low-fi rainfall and the rolling of waves, each and every track on this mini-album maps a new journey, an alternative ending. Yet there remains that North Coast feeling. This could not have been recorded anywhere else and will resonate with those by the sea.

Vocally, Lavery is at his absolute best, particularly on 'Nick Cave's Band'. Vail too, offers some fine backing; no easy feat alongside such a distinguished voice. The balance between this record's spoken word interludes and background noise blends harmoniously, with the acoustic guitar and piano flowing through it. If Damien Rice overindulged on his third major album release last year, Vail and Lavery have went the opposite direction, their minimalist approach evoking a similar ambiance to the near-flawless 'O'.

This is an album of real beauty. A warm release, filled with soulful, touching songs. The only slight disappointment is that Lavery & Vail remain so established in their respective fields. 

If 'Sea Legs' really is a one record project, then what an intensely beautiful legacy to leave.

We hope it's not.

Taylor Johnson

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