I have to confess before commencing this review that I am a huge fan of Eleanor McEvoy's work, and have been for some time, so I was already biased in favour of this album before I even heard it.
Eleanor McEvoy is an Irish singer/songwriter who has a distinctively accented voice, an ear for a catchy tune and a real gift with words. Rooted in a folky/traditional sound but with a definite pop sensibility.
I was a little in two minds when approaching this album. From the track listing I could see that about half the material is songs that she has released on previous albums. When some artists revisit old material and rerecord it, the results can sometimes be terrible and indicate the creative end of the artist's career. Thankfully it is not the case here. McEvoy has taken a well chosen set of some of her best (and, I am guessing, favourite) songs, mixed them with some new material and re-recorded them with a simple stripped back style, just her alone in the recording studio with a guitar. The result is superb. The recordings of old songs really do add to them. In some cases she is now singing with a maturity of more years in her voice, that lends an added depth to the song, in others the removal of the more elaborate backing really allows her lyrics to shine forth even more strongly. Her voice is now centre stage in all songs and carries the entire album. It's gorgeous, thoughtful, emotionally literate and still catchy music that I was delighted by.
One surprise for me was `Eve of Destruction', a cover of an old protest song from the sixties. I hadn't heard the original for many years, and had never really liked it, as I always felt the original singer was more interested in the sound and himself than the song or the injustices which he was singing about. In McEvoy's hands it's a far superior song, less corny than the original, and you really feel that she cares deeply about the world and what we are doing to it and each other. She has turned it into a classic song. It's a great album, and a welcome addition to my collection. It's also a good place to start for those new to McEvoy.