David Keenan had a bit of buzz about him for about a year before the release of this record, "A Beginners Guide to Bravery". A handful of EPs and an excellent live reputation meant there was a level of anticipation for this album. Keenan is seemingly quite the prolific songwriter but bided his time with his first long player release before eventually recording it over a single week. The results of his endeavours are startling. Opening track "James Dean" is sparse and understated yet bursting at the seems with Keenan's trademark lyrical delivery. It says alot without shouting too loudly. This is followed by the mesmerising "Unholy Ghosts", an uptempo ballad backed up with a full band sound and gorgeous strings. "Altar Wine" is a more developed version of a previously released song. "Love in a Snug" starts off unassumingly but grows into a beauty with a memorable coda. Up to this point all the songs are quite striking and memorable. "Tin Pan Alley" showcases Keenan's general at ease with melody but is the first unremarkable track. "Good Old Days" follows suit in giving examples of Keenan's talent without any fireworks. "The Healing" is a step up with some fantastic strings added to the mix. This song sets up the final section of the album nice, leading into one of the highlights of the album "Origin of the World", a truly great song. "Eastern Nights" is relatively unremarkable on the surface but is addictive on repeated listening. Keenan saves the best for last with two gems closing out the album. "Evidence of Living", previously available on an EP of the same name but arranged slightly differently here and then the album closer "Subliminal Dublinia" a sublime song. Keenan demonstrates his serious talent on his debut and you get the feeling (or at least are hopeful) listening to this that there will be a vast and varied catalog of releases to follow. Heres hoping.
By: The RealRicko