Review: Cormac O’Caoimh – Swim Crawl Walk Run

One of the main pleasures of reviewing music is seeing how an artist evolves and finds his/her voice. Certainly, O’Caoimh’s voice (and what an appealing, smooth instrument it is) and songwriting skills have discovered a rich vein of form on his last few albums, whereas the first few offerings as The Citadels and his first solo album were a little patchy. Regular collaborator and backing vocalist Aoife Regan is here again as is Martin Leahy who seems to be credited with playing just about every instrument as well as taking care of production.

swimcrawlwalkrun

‘You Won’t Break Me’ is a light and bright way to introduce the new record but better more deeply satisfying songs follow. ‘When My Kids Grow Too Old To Hold Hands’ is one such example; the simplicity of arrangements, guitar strums and O’Caoimh’s always intimate vocals is a winning formula and later on the song bursts into a lovely sequence of strings. ‘Desire Lines’ is another highlight; some countrified guitar and brushed percussion giving the melody plenty of space to breathe and sink its hooks into the listener. As the album enters its mid-point, a self-effacing ‘Pocketful Of Doodling’ leans towards a jazzier direction and is a delight, especially when Regan joins in, whilst the equally excellent ‘When Did I Get So Cold?’ is another track which evokes the charm of rainy day afternoons (for the record, the singer’s voice has possibly never sounded warmer). These more melancholic affairs contrast neatly with the uptempo likes of ‘Swim Crawl Walk Run Ride Drive Fly’ and the quiet-loud dynamics of ‘Untitled’. Credit to for ‘Slow Love’, where the experimental staccato rhythms offer a somewhat unexpected (given the title) injection of pace.

‘Swim Crawl Walk Run’ is a delightful and cohesive album; showcasing one of the most engaging voices in modern pop/folk today. For fans of Kings Of Convenience in particular, this record is worth thirty eight minutes of anyone’s isolation time.

Cormac O’Caoimh Official Site

Further Listening:
Kings Of Convenience, Prefab Sprout

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