Eleanor McEvoy – ‘Stuff’ – Review
Simply titled ‘Stuff’, Eleanor McEvoy’s 11th studio album started out as an attempt to collate single mixes, audiophile tracks and other assorted work that she has done over the years in to one collection. While projects such as this usually result in a mish mash of substandard off-cuts that were best left in the dusty vaults (or hard drives) in which they resided, McEvoy’s efforts have produced some extremely pleasing results.
There are three covers on the album; Chuck Berry’s ‘Memphis Tennessee’, Edith Piaf’s ‘Melord’ and ‘Whistle for the Choir’, originally recored by The Fratellis. The notable genre hopping between these three covers is reflected in McEvoy’s own compositions on the album and it’s her own work, full of sardonic wit and characterised by her unique and engaging voice, that really stands out.
The blues and soul tinged ‘The Thought of You’ and ‘Please Heart You’re Killing Me’ are contrasted nicely by the likes of the accordion heavy country romp of ‘Please Heart You’re Killing Me’ and the strident ‘Deliver Me’. But the stand out tracks are most certainly ‘Take A Little Look’ and ‘The Night May Still Be Young But So Am I’.
‘Take A Little Look’ eschews instruments in favour of Polish a cappella band Banana Boat and the result is a stunningly modern Irish ballad that gets better with every listen. While ‘The Night May Still Be Young But So Am I’ is a rousing bar room shanty that sounds like it’s being sung by an even ballsier, Irish incarnation of Lili Von Schtupp.
Overall this is a finer album than it had any right to be and perhaps those of us who had to endure our mothers endlessly playing ‘A Woman’s Heart’ twenty years ago can finally forgive Eleanor McEvoy her wholly innocent part in that particular crime and gain a new appreciation for her fine back catalogue as well as her latest work.
Review by Mark O’Brien