Review: Dylan Walsh

Anderson, the Finglas boy who gave up his career working on building sites for music. Thank God for that, as this album titled ‘Patterns’ has such beautiful emotion and storytelling – assets that can only be described as beautiful poetry.

Pattern’s opens with ‘The Twilight is Folding’, a short and sweet intro giving the listener a taste of what is to come, with the picking off the acoustic guitar to the strings, it creates a dreamlike aura. ‘Patterns’ swiftly follows with simple strums and minimalistic piano playing that creates much needed space for the contrasting vocals. The storytelling vocals act as the main body and rhythm of the song, letting the stings and acoustic vibes to add layers to this beautiful piece. The dynamics in this song are completely on the money, not once did I lose interest with the quirky layers of shakers and simple sparse beats added throughout making this a beautiful well thought-out song.

‘Things We Have In Common’ comes next, sticking with the same storytelling, folk and happy vibes Anderson brings the listener to his level saying “We all have a story to tell, yes we have this in common”. Simple, but oh so effective! The vocal approach is almost spoken, but with such great dynamics, making it that much more compelling. I could almost hear this in a musical! ‘Vincent’ woke my ears up with a different approach to the groove of the song. The underlying bass just gives it what it needs at this stage of the album. I admire Anderson’s arrangement on this album a lot, especially in this song. The electric guitar riff is bare, but yet so effective, giving the vocals centre stage to express the emotion needed, the palm muting yet again brings this songs body up without taking over the whole track and of course the build to the chorus’ is evidentially genius. Dynamics and arrangement are so important in a song to keep the album alive, Anderson has mastered it!

‘History’ opens with a dark and gloomy aura from the piano unlike the previous tracks. Once the vocals come in my body fills with such immense emotion. From the effortless vibrato to the instruments hanging back and complimenting the lyrics so perfectly, this one tugged on my heartstrings. “I feel history, the ashes of yesterday” is just an example of the poetic feel to this beautiful song about heartbreak. Sparse piano continues into ‘The Melody’ where Anderson yet again speaks about a loved one. What I adore about Anderson’s writing style is how relatable, yet so personal each and every song is. “I can’t make sense of all this space, and time. It’s swallowing my body and my mind.” Rings out in the chorus, in such a beautiful-heartfelt way. This number is my favourite of the album. Why? It’s simple, minimalistic, and everything is so true, raw, and real.

A rhythmic twist comes next from ‘The Existential Vacuum’ with simple beats from all instruments. I especially loved the offbeat of the piano, giving the song colour and flare. The song is full of hooks from every instrument, but yet I’m left craving a catchy chorus. I believe if the chorus melody was half as catchy as the other instruments this song would be the best candidate for a single on the album. The arrangement is beautiful – don’t get me wrong, I just feel as if the vocals are getting lost in the mix. Up strokes from the acoustic guitar opens ‘Cecilia’s Sister’ in a steady moving pace, with the cajon coming in to keep everything flowing.  I really enjoyed how the piano and vocal mimicked one another in the chorus, but yet I was wanting them to be more in sync, because when it was, it was a lot more effective.

‘Through the Night’ opens with yet more sparse piano to my joy. Yet again, the build to the pre-chorus is perfect, leading up to the amazing chorus filled with just the right arrangement of atmospheric guitar, drums with reverb, and vocals you could die for! The sousaphone added a beautiful layer and gave this song even more depth. A part of me would have loved to hear it feature a little earlier into the song, but then again I adore how much air your song has to breathe.  ‘A Sad Lullaby’ is filled with the air of the previous number, with sustained notes on the piano which makes me crumble! It almost gives the listener a moment of silence to respect how beautiful quietness is. The harmonies added into the chorus were beautiful and can’t be faulted, and really added warmth to the piece. I do believe the bass could be lowered in the mix, as I personally would rather let the strings take centre stage as they were stunning. My sweet spot was hit nearing the outro when the violin flowed in time and harmony with the vocals, giving me shivers! LOVE IT. At this point of an album this long I tend to become tiresome and restless, but not with this album. ‘About A life’ is flowed through next with the most poetic lyrics. “When the ghosts of your beginnings was strangling your brain, cutting you to ribbons or driving you insane” sets the song into a stunning piece filled with strings, creating a lullaby sense. The acoustic guitar simple picking pattern is so beautiful laid low in the mix and fills the body and warmth of the song.

The album ends with “The mornings never new” with a darker electric guitar with not so much jingle to it. The bursts of colour spreading from the violins as the stunning lyrics rings out “the mornings never new.”  I enjoyed this 12 track album from start to finish, and can’t recommend it anymore.