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Marc O’Reilly – Human Herdings

November 22, 2014

It seems fitting to kickstart this new streamlined (and in theory less wordy) version of TWLT with an album that successfully manages to be short, punchy and highly effective.

With 9 tracks, at total runtime of 32 minutes, Human Herdings is a ballsy debut second album from Marc O’Reilly – one half of the ever frustrating (and unsearchable) duo R : :

Picking this album up on recommendation from the R : : fan page itself I was admittedly hoping for something electronic with the same sort of haunting soft vocals found on Change but what you have here is in fact a blues-style rock album that flits comfortably between high tempo get-up-and-go tunes (opener Same Side and You Never) to more soulful acoustic ballads (Lighthouse and Letting Go) that hold attention throughout with some atypical breaks and changes keeping the overall sound fresh.

Marc has a great sense space in the composition of the album and knows where to let the various parts of the song breath and this goes a long way to improve the landscape of many of the slower songs which – in some ways after several listens – show some elements of Damien Rice at his best. Coming through in the sparse use of piano and the slight “big hall” style reverb effect on the vocals I see this as no bad thing.

Since the album is so short it seems unfair to draw attention away from any part of it by focusing on any of the tracks in particular but I can’t help but be moved by two tracks which I will just quickly dwell on.

Firstly there has to be some credit given to the opening track Same Side which really is a fantastic way to start an album. It’s been a long while since an opening track has really hooked me as it doesn’t seem to be the fashionable thing to do any more to lead with what could be argued as your main track but with a deceptively soft but pacey guitar and vocal melody at the start giving way to full on blues crunch for the rest of the way through it deserves a mention apart from the whole album.

 

 

On the other end of the scale though Bleed provides one of the more beautiful contrasts with the tip-tap rhythm akin to More Than Words and falsetto vocals sounding so tender they feel more like a fleeting afterthought than a fully realised part of the song and it just works.

Regardless, I have been listening to this album on and off for months now and it still continues to please and surprise me with its quality and would strongly recommend you give it at least one listen.

Oh and FallenFallen is also great.

And You Never

 

 

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