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The Old Queens Head

44 Essex Road

London

N1 8LN

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The Old Queens Head | October 25th 2017

A monthly evening of the finest folk music live at the Old Queens Head in Islington

*****

Lisa O’Neill

Career high on magnificent 3rd album…..for those that commit to the experience there’s a terrible beauty hovering inside these almost unbearably honest songs’. Hotpress – 9/10

On her way to heaven, Lisa O’Neill hit “a pothole in the sky.” And so it begins, a perfect way to start this tale, this journey, this album. Because all great things and all great art usually stem from a bump in the road, or a pothole in the sky.

This is Lisa O’Neill from Cavan’s third album, following a witty and charming debut (This Is An Album By Lisa O’Neill), and an altogether more cohesive follow-up (Same Cloth or Not) that marked her a serious artist, a contender, a voice, a forked tongue.

This one, however, is the recording Lisa O’Neill needed to make. It’s a recording of “the voice”. The Voice is everything for the folk singer – a conduit for the words, the emotion, the thought process. And if, like me, you ever felt a record needed to be made of an artist’s voice, about her voice, so beautifully focused on, centred on, honed-in on and in love with the voice, then this, friends, is the fucking record. Excuse my French.

At a time when sameness threatens to drain the world of charm and surprise, Lisa O’Neill stands tall for difference, as an outlier with a mission to frame the world as she sees it and to perform it accordingly. Her voice is her own. No small achievement. Irish Times – Album of the Week

David Odlum – the producer who calls the Loire Valley residential paradise that is Black Box Studio his home – has taken this notion literally and assisted O’Neill in making the record that needed to be made. This is apparent from the off, the opening track, the title-track, the first bump in the road. You hear that familiar Cavan sneer (in an odd, abstract way, Lisa has always reminded me of a folk John Lydon – go figure). It’s a foreboding, dangerous tale, and a song that builds with intensity.

This is achieved by the utterly brilliant and stark accompaniment. The drones that underlay the voice seem to egg her on. The doomed dance of the double bass-line grows and growls. The piano trickles manically, spinning in circles like a possessed children’s toy. And that casual drawl starts to sound more like a cracked, wracked, wrought plea full of desperation and fear. And you realise that this is no ordinary record.

O’Neill’s voice goes to all sorts of places throughout the course of this album, and the music provided by Mossy Nolan, Emma Smith, Joseph Doyle and Seamus Fogarty follows her like a dark swirling storm, often bringing to mind the loose impressionism of the Dirty Three. On ‘’Planets’’ O’Neill delivers her most extraordinary vocal and lyrical performance to date. It is remarkable and on this form she could go toe to toe with Nick Cave at his most fire and brimstone. Except O’Neill’s prose is elemental and mysterious, not angry.



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The Old Queens Head

44 Essex Road

London

N1 8LN

United Kingdom

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