track review ~ 'the shy man spoke' ~ fionn crossan

Artist: Fionn Crossan
For fans of: Ben Howard, Joshua Burnside

To be so young, Mallusk-songwriter Fionn Crossan sings the weathered songs of a life fully lived, with lamenting regret, sorrow and even flashes of hope pouring out of every line.

If it's this maudlin reflection that draws you into Crossan's world, his virtuoso picking-patterns keep you there. Rustic and poignant, without ever threatening to overshadow the song upon which it floats.

'Maybe lost at sea's not the worst place I could be...'

There is an impenetrable yearn in Crossan's voice. A haunting admittance to the end of something great, or the start of something hard. As each broken verse falls into the next, edging ever closer to a heartbreaking close, you're waiting for the floodgates to burst open. They do, around the two and a half minute mark, when Crossan's defiant 'I was shy, but I spoke' leaves you all but broken. Truly hurting for the narrator of a story you may not fully understand, but can't help but feel you do.

Throughout you hear the rhythmic effects of John Martyn, the gentle whisper of Ben Howard's sophomore record 'I Forget Where We Were'Though ultimately Crossan has crafted his own beautiful melancholy, no mean feat in a genre overcrowded so much already. 

Though it may be a bit early to claim 'The Shy Man Spoke' timeless, twenty listens in and we are no closer to listening to anything, or indeed anyone, else. 

Taylor Johnson

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