Review by Bobby Green
I sometimes find it difficult to find the right words for a review, you can only repeat so many superlatives before they start to sound disingenuous. So when a songwriter of Paul McDonell’s calibre releases an album I honestly fear how I articulate my review. The lyrical content is at the heart of every song on “A Sweeter Confusion”, elevated by some beautiful accompaniment. Every song on the album is such an eloquent story so wonderfully told that without music they would sit as short stories to fall in love with, or fall in love to.
But it is Boram Lee’s accompaniment which is vital to the aesthetics of this album. Boram Lee was in Ireland less than a week when Paul spotted her at a jam session. Within seconds he knew she was an outstanding piano player and after the show he asked her to rehearse to see if they would gel musically. It was a decision both Paul and Boram are so happy to have made because it was the starting point of a truly remarkable creative year. Boram is at the heart of the new album – she co-wrote several songs including ‘Go Home’, ‘No Words’, ‘Wrap your Loving Arms Around’ and provided guest vocals on four tracks.
The remaining songs are written by Paul and other writers including David Molloy, Gavin Murphy, Scott Maher, Cathleen Flynn and Ruby Amanfu. At the controls in studio was multi instrumentalist David Molloy who has produced and co-produced most of Paul’s music over the past 15 years or more. Paul and David Molloy initially came together to form the band ‘Cellar Club’ and fancied themselves as Dublin’s answer to Steely Dan.
Paul McDonell says of “A Sweeter Confusion” “The songs start with a thought rather than a chord or a melody. Since losing both my parents within a short time, I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few years, battling with a sense of failure in my search for love, connection and truth”. On this new album, Paul asks if one can exist without the other – “My song ‘I’m not ready’ is an example of this, the conflict of needing love to feel alive and also connecting with the need to run away to be yourself.” ‘There’s safety in the danger when you close your eyes at speed and changing like the weather everything that you believe’ (I’m not ready).
“A Sweeter Confusion” will be officially launched Friday, August 5th, in DC Music Club, 20 Camden Row, Dublin 2. Doors 8pm e12 door/e10 advance. First 20 bookings receive free copy of the album. Tickets now on sale www.musiclee.ie