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Fingertips of the Silversmith
Tiger Cooke Fingertips of the Silversmith
Released 22 October 2010
Producer David Geraghty
Label Ivy Court Records
Length 42:25
Genre Indie rock
Website www.tigercooke.com

2010 may not have been the best year to change your name to Tiger but in the spirit of reinvention Tadhg Cooke became Tiger Cooke, enlisted the help of David Redmond on bass and Kevin Brady on drums and began recording what would become his second studio album Fingertips of the Silversmith. With no new music from the usual suspects of the Irish music industry in the past year (The Frames, Bell X1 etc.), a void was left that has been filled by the likes of Villagers and Cathy Davey, Cooke now makes his claim for the spotlight.

Musically this album is magnificent, mixing elements of jazz, blues, folk and Americana. The drums and bass power the album along allowing Cooke to fill in the gap with understated guitar riffs. The songs are packed with interesting flourishes and chord changes throughout, constantly changing the landscape, never satisfied to settle on a simple riff, reminiscent of Prefab Sprout at their crafted and catchy best.

The refreshing thing about Fingertips of the Silversmith is that Cooke doesn’t try to glamorize his past relationships. Songs like 'Rid of Her' and 'Andrea’s Fault' are laced with anger and confusion over a failed relationship. 'Grinding Teeth' catalogues the inevitable arguments that plague every relationship while 'This Isn’t Easy' is the aftermath of a break up where the modern phenomena of text messages and social networking allow you to instantly put the final nail in the coffin of any relationship in the heat of the moment. The honesty is welcome and it makes the songs easier to relate to.

There are a few contenders for the highlight of the album, the laid back longing of first single 'Out of Reach' or album closer and Robert Louis Stevenson inspired 'Your True North' both make strong cases, however this honour goes to the brooding 'There’s An Elvis In Us All'. The title might suggest karaoke down in the local pub on a Friday night, but the song deals with the more destructive side of human nature, the corrupting influence of fame that brought about the downfall of Elvis and so many other celebrities. Cooke questions how far he would go himself in that situation, there is no holier-than-thou preaching just the realisation we’re all susceptible to temptation.

Fingertips of the Silversmith is an immensely likable and thought provoking album. Cooke does a great job of making these songs relevant to common experience, a quality that can prove elusive to many song writers. With the big hitters of Irish music conspicuous by their absence, Cooke has continued the trend of the lesser known acts coming up with the goods and will hopefully get the recognition that this album deserves.

- Brian Kinsella