Lamenting the loss of the great London-Irish band Rollerskate Skinny (whose two albums, Shoulder Voices and Horsedrawn Wishes, if combined and edited into one cd with the best 12 songs would be one of my desert island discs), here's my remedy. Dubliner Ken Griffin, now solo from RS, emigrates to NYC and has his own album to do. While his former bandmate Jimi Shields (brother of Kevin of My Bloody Valentine) develops the thicker RS sound with his dazzling neo-psych band Lotus Crown, Griffin sticks to a sparser style. Griffin's voice, shorn of his RS bandmates' more eccentric backing, heightens the U2/Echo comparisons. Not that KG's exactly straightforward. His talent lies in twists and turns. Incorporating touches of hip-hop, rap, and electronica into the r-and-r mix, the sound can be a bit too spare in places. As if he imitates Bono's vox and released his backing-track home demos. Yet, by the time the album spins round to Layabout Superstars, he captures the lush poetry of RS while striving to move forward into a more contemporary vibe. I wish the production could've benefitted from a bigger budget and a denser texture, but nonetheless, in its own wistful vocals and meditative lyrics, it shows that KG's ready to keep channelling his own musical muse.
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About the reviewer
John L. Murphy (Fionnchu)
Medievalist turned humanities professor; unrepentant but not unskeptical Fenian; overconfident accumulator of books & music; overcurious seeker of trivia, quadrivia, esoterica. … more
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