I'm delighted to say that "Melting into Oneness" has followed up on the verbal compliments with an exceptional written review by Musicians Together Magazine. I do solemnly attest that no brown envelopes or secret handshakes were involved, and that I feel Liam Oragh gets it
‘Melting Into Oneness’ by Brendan Hickey – Reviewed by Liam Oragh
There was a time in my artistic life when I thought I was a poet rather than a singer or a song-writer. To that end I sought advice from Poetry Ireland, an organisation that was supposed to encourage young poets. At a meeting with the director I was given what he described as “the cold bath treatment” whereby he took my work apart a little unkindly and asked me to question if this was really what I wanted to pursue. And while I resented this “encouragement” for a long time afterwards he did have one nugget of advice and that was to consider putting poetry to music. I would see Brendan Hickey’s work as a manifestation of that concept taken to the Nth degree and very successfully and effectively so…We all have to find, as artists, the best outlet and vehicle for our expression, and when we do, the results can be very rewarding. And although, putting poetry to music is not a new concept; when It’s done well it can be both special and delightful..‘Melting into Oneness’ has to be one of the best album titles I’ve seen in a while – bringing to mind something that is both bigger than the sum of its parts but also an album, like the best ones, that hangs together as a single entity while still leaving room for individual moments of brightness.
Great rock groove complete with sirens in "Piracy", which kicks this 19 song collection off (yeah that’s right folks – you’re gonna get your money’s worth here!) “It’s Piracy that they can steal my privacy “ is the indignant chant that immediately and infectiously gets into your head – we’re already into politics and its only track 1…
"Beautiful Lady" has me thinking that what we’re really dealing with here is some tasty Irish Hip-hop complete with jazzy rhythms with even a bit of brass.
Song interludes seem to take place in a pub – you can hear the background noise between tracks..nice touch that really joins everything together…
"Ozone" will make you think momentarily of Tom Waits with its wonderful growly delivery of words, spoken words that are almost tumbling into being sung….leading into the bongos-led beginning of abandoned avenger – where he’s really starting to show his poetic command of language
Time to commend the production work of Brendan’s fellow conspirator Karl Odlum at this stage – 1st rate work on instrumentation and arrangements with some spot-on mixes..
"The Black Tulip" turns a moment during a visit to Amsterdam into a piece of musical longing – sounds like it was written in the red-light district – nice and seedy..
Tribal beats behind a piece of taut verse follows this – "Kathleen" – leading into some beautiful female backing singing…music to swoon to…
A more folky acoustic guitar and tambourine opening to ‘I heard your Fear’, with his quality lyrics punching in, echoing a parent’s fear for their children’s wellbeing: “Parents sometimes shoulder blame when childhood disappears, but they’ll still worry all the same about young freedoms’s tears,
cause we’ve seen things go wrong , down life’s neglected back-streets, we can soothe them with a song, but we can’t heal all the pain”
Continuing this quirky folk rock feel into ‘The Butterfly Beamed’. “Things are never what they seem, they never are” – he could have been speaking literally about the album. And just before Yeats gets name-checked here I was starting to think about the similarities between this piece and the recent work of Mike Scott where he put Yeats’s Poems to song…stirring stark stuff by two musical poets on the same wavelength..
Lyrics start to stand out and sing to me: “as clinging fears became foreplay, you blew away the cobweb guilt that my past had built.” ‘Can a Tree Believe?’
There is no doubt that poetry presented in this fashion is so much more powerful that simply reading it on a page.
The pub-like background noise gets used as the song backdrop in ‘On Being Asked to Comment’ – nice atmospheric touch – like sitting in on an open-mic for a moment complete with the clinking of glasses..
Nice Doors-like vibe to ‘Purple’ which brings some great hypnotic musical momentum to proceedings…...also the track from which the album title comes from…
The quirkiness of the background noises and effects before the voice comes in, really start to draw you in after a while, and then the words; “they had long since gone past, putting fingers on a glass, their very souls they would bargain away” ‘No White’ Gets kinda eerie too…no surprise when demons and hell start getting mentioned…along with witches and warlocks..
A more traditional feel to ‘Walkabout’ with some string arrangements – “a walkabout quest for things too unmentioned leads to the quenching of a spiritual thirst” (This might sum up his artistic journey on this album’s work) -
and then his Irish language influence on ‘Na Carraigreacha Ceolmhar’ (the musical rocks) complete with wind and waves opening – haunting stuff!
The strumming of ukulele on ‘Lake Memory’ brightens up the mood as the album draws towards the end – there’s no doubt you need to give a little time out of your day to experience this album but so worth it…
Plenty of airplane effects on ‘Flight Nineteen’ – nice groove with a bit of backbeat.
Nice bit of lead guitar on ‘Brighten Blacks’ before the appropriately named final track with its surprising reggae groove ‘Is Dat Enuff’
Brendan will not leave you feeling short-changed – that’s for sure – and joining him on his multi-musical-genre and poetic journey is well worth the effort.
Kind of an easy comparison to mention Jim Morrison’s American Prayer as an indication of the type of thing you can expect here – the words and the music being both 1st class and left-of-field - and it’s that merging of music with words that is the real meaning for me of the title of this very rewarding and enjoyable bunch of poetic songs..