Sometimes you have no idea what a song is about, hum along and just enjoy the sound. Other times the lyrics are so to the fore you don’t even really remember the tune. In Marlene Enright‘s debut solo album Placemats and Second Cuts there is a precise perfect balance of both lyric and melody, a delicate thing to get so very right. From first listen I was hooked.
The thing that hits you immediately is Enright’s gorgeous voice . It is unique, pure and emotive giving all of the songs an ethereal feel. She creates an atmosphere that draws you in, floats you along and makes you want to hear the stories that lie within. Enright is the queen of sharp honest lyrics winding many of life’s experiences into a rich backdrop of lovely melodies.
Hard to believe this is a debut Placemats and Second Cuts is perfectly produced with some very cool arrangements making it a fully rounded album. Every note, every word, every instrument, every harmony in the right place. Sounds blend from indie pop to alt country to RnB grooves showing us Enright’s immense versatility. More than once I found myself shoulder dancing and grooving along.
The indie country song ‘ When the Water is Hot’ is literally flawless with it’s waltz like quality dancing us into killer thought provoking lyrics such as ‘when the heat is gone, the thrill is gone, the colours are no more’. Pop perfection can be heard in songs like ‘123’ and ‘Underbelly’ always with a hint of something a bit darker. ‘Sadness’ with its haunting stripped back instrumentation allows Enright’s voice to take centre stage warning us to look out for the sadness creeping up on us – it will make you a bit heartsore and love her all the more for it, after all it is good advice. For me the song that’s been on repeat is ‘We were in trouble’ so beautifully written full of loneliness, beauty and spine chilling melodic drive.
This is simply a brilliant album from a wonderfully bright and talented musician. Enright says in ‘hindsight it’s an album full of self reflection’ no doubt that’s what makes it feel so real. There’s nothing better than someone telling it from the heart and when they wrap it up like like this it surpasses all you can want from music.
Gillian McGee is one half of Twitch Jnr who can be found playing regularly around Cork City and especially in Gallagher’s on McCurtain St.