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Cloves
Seamus O'Muineachain Cloves

Released 29 June 2017
Label Ghost Home Recordings
Length 30:00
Genre Instrumental
Website www.seamusomuineachain.eu
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Cloves is multi-instrumentalist Seamus O’Muineachain’s second full length album, a follow up to his self-titled 2012 debut which garnered positive reviews from the press. It’s an album of piano driven instrumentals that seeks to evoke the beauty of isolation in small town Ireland, specifically his hometown of Belmullet, Co. Mayo where the album was recorded.

Tranquillity reigns supreme here, with songs like 'Dusks', 'Sometimes We Fly' and 'The City From Her Bedroom' loping along with scant regard for strict tempo. Delicate melodies are underpinned by beefy chords and augmented by some single note synth lines to add to the atmosphere. From time to time the chords are developed lazily (and I mean that as a positive) with the final note falling in to place just slightly out of synch with the bass line to maintain a dream-like quality. These songs continuously threaten to grow into something but never quite get there and that’s perfectly fine as a big crescendo would ruin the mood.

It’s not all one paced though, 'Gom' is a more regimental affair with its steady bass line and overdubbed piano lines giving it a fuller sound, calling to mind a ticking clock in an empty house. Again a sense of anticipation pervades without ever reaching a destination, tying into the isolation of a small town. Similarly 'Dawns' (mirroring the title of the opening track nicely) is a more urgent affair with a stricter beat employed for the most part. 'Interval for Avril' switches things up with more string instruments, layered densely it’s hard to make out the full range of instruments used but shades of a banjo, a harp and an acoustic guitar (at least to my ear) with a light dusting of piano make up a nice little segue from the norm.

O’Muineachain achieves his intended goal of composing songs that capture an isolated beauty and Cloves is the kind of album to stick on when you need to unplug from a hectic day. It doesn’t ask much from the listener, you just let it wash over you. It’s an accomplished snapshot of rural Ireland, it’s brief at just 30 minutes but charming all the same.

- Brian Kinsella