Ailbhe Reddy’s EP ‘Dwell’ – Review
Dwell is the debut release from Dublin based singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy. Recorded with Callum Orr between his living room in Finglas and his parents’ attic in Wexford, the four track offering is a short but beautiful set of acoustic guitar driven songs, settled with spacious arrangements, sparse instrumentation and set apart by lush and melodic vocal harmonies.
The warm, lightly reverberated acoustic guitar of Flesh and Blood opens the piece as Reddy’s effortlessly delivered vocal spills through speakers, elongated vowel sounds adding emotive strength, yet introducing a decidedly melancholic tone, reinforced by wistful lyrics. A jangling second acoustic guitar and beautiful backing vocals create a sense of depth as she sings about being ‘stranded in your silence’, a stasis not mirrored by the music, but contradicted by its movement as competing guitars pick a pleasing tone, the absence of percussion not noticeable as the track continues blissfully to its quiet, introspective conclusion.
The acoustic aesthetic is continued with Cover Me, the tale telling of a bittersweet moment between lovers, or the parting of partners, a sense of difference and acceptance, of love and loss. The pace is set similarly to the previous track as finger picking guitars weave a platform from which Reddy’s voice can jump, soar and sail, while Swan Song, with its beautiful acoustic guitar tone, warm electric lead lines and fleeting buried percussion boasts a forlorn chorus that will catch in your ear and swirl sweetly in there for hours after listening.
The EP concludes with Love of Your Son, light, airy piano parts introducing a tonal difference from the preceding aural produce, with gorgeous, breathtaking backing vocals reminiscent of The Staves taking pride of place. When drums and bass drop in and offer up a full band sound, the listener is treated to a musical realm not yet explored by the record, albeit only momentary, it serves as a fitting and hopeful, uplifting end to the piece.
Dwell is an intensely personal, carefully constructed collection of sweet songs, centred on fleeting love, lingering loss, the joy of unity and the tragedy of separation. Do yourself a favour and get a copy.
Dwell is set for release on the 13th of December in the Bello Bar, Portobello.
By Andy Guyett