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Review: 'Michael J. Sheehy'
'Distance Is The Soul Of Beauty'   

-  Label: 'Lightning Archive'
-  Genre: 'Blues' -  Release Date: '2.10.20.'-  Catalogue No: 'LACD001'

Our Rating:
This is Michael J Sheehy's first solo album since he miraculously kicked the demon alcohol, as well as many of its friends, out of his life and sobered up and got married and became a father. Which is a major mid-life redemption.

All of which may account for a slight change in tone of lyrical direction from his previous solo albums or his work in Dream City Film Club, whose inferno related birth, had risen back up when Michael tried to cook some chips after a drink or two too many, an event that sobered him up.

As ever for me, it also gives me major flashbacks to my minor role in events in 1986, before The Dream City Film Club burned down, that allowed it to stay in business, if only I'd voted guilty.

This album has been recorded since Lockdown began and came about when Michael decided to put aside the massive magnum opus he's been working on and just go for something more immediate and in tune with our times and his new role as stay at home dad.

The Album opens with Tread Gently, Leave No Scar that is as suggested a rather gentle and sparse acoustic song that may be about trying to make sure you leave things in at least as good condition as you find them.

Bless Your Gentle Soul sounds like it could have come off of Bob Frank and John Murry's Brinkley Arkansas album, it has a deep blue eyed soul feel to this plaintive song of love and affection for someone who's helping to make his life better than it once was.

We Laugh More Than We Cry feels about right for 2020 as we try to find a way to laugh as all around us is sorrow, this has a very gentle minor key feel to it a beautifully sparse rumination.

Turn Back From Home is sung in a hushed lullaby style that could be used to help his baby to sleep as he seeks to lead us back home once more spending time with the ones he loves and who saved him.

The Girl Who Disappeared is a slow low and almost nursery rhyme like gentle plea for someone to go and search for that girl who went missing.

I Have To Live This Way is a statement that he has to be clean and get on with his new life, gently coming to terms with life's changes a slow sparse folk blues full of hope.

Blue Latitudes And Starless Sky feels like he's sitting outside staring at the sky at 3 in the morning drinking in the vastness above him while thinking about the things he's seen and done.

Judas Hour Is a very slow dark cry from the crypt almost funereal pace religiously infused epic tale of betrayal.
Blackout Arrows is about being one the people who play to nobody and are outside the scene, the discarded rebels, this feels like a quieter darker Tindersticks melancholic eulogy to his past lives.

The album closes with Everything That Rises Must Converge a plea for the new dawn to be a better day and that once we have got through all the trauma we will become better people another gentle hymn of redemption which feels like a constant theme through this really starkly beautiful album of catholic songs of catharsis and redemption.

Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/michaeljsheehy
  author: simonovitch

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