Chorusing is misty and melancholic on his debut outing Half Mirror
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  • Post published:20/08/2021
  • Post last modified:20/08/2021

Inspired by artists of the early ’20s, its retrospective theme matches the eerie and considered stillness of the songs, especially “Billowing” and “Watching the Beams”. While there is a strong synth sound throughout, the album meanders between slightly Avante Garde electronica and softer, comforting folk guitar. The combination of these differing styles forms a unique and meditative collection. As is often inevitable with music that expressively focuses on the past, there is an inherent sadness, but a settled and peaceful one.

O’Connell’s emotive nature shines particularly on “Blue Ridge”, “Midday Sun” and “Ohio”. Drawing subtle similarities between late folk legend – and O’Connell’s musical influence – John Martyn, although the writing and singing style is not angst-ridden like Martyn’s. There is however comparable breathiness to O’Connell’s singing, which lends itself to the haunting ambience of the record. Much like the instrumentals on the record, it holds a very raw quality – opening track “Cold”, where you can hear the singer harmonising freely with the echoing jangles of his guitar.

Made at his home using an electric guitar, a homemade synthesiser and a vintage tape delay, this record is a snapshot into O’Connell’s past – and an innate ability to transport you to a very specific place. It’s a far cry from the type of folk that conjures up intimate scenes of campfire songs, instead, Half Mirror feels contemplative, and structured around solitude and remoteness.

Each track is married in evoking a similar sense of a vast misty landscape and hazy melancholic mornings, though the albums finale does this particularly well. Closing with the suitably atmospheric “Mirror”, the sound of a drone bending in and out of pitch, much like the featherweight in O’Connell’s voice, leaves the impression of a lingering goodbye. Certainly, it would seem no half measures for Half Mirror.

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