Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Man Whom: "The Greatest Event" (album review)

There's definitely been an upsurge in lush Irish folk music that's been reaching North American shores in the last couple of years.  The Swell Season, Villagers, and James Vincent McMorrow have all made an impact.

You can add Ian Doyle to the list, aka The Man Whom.  His new album, The Greatest Event, gets its North American release on February 14th via Ottawa's Matchless Minds label.

With the opener "Easier To Run" it's clear that the elegance of his compatriots is a trait ingrained in Doyle's music as well.  The song features a delicate piano and strings provided by the Masima Quartet.

Doyle's vocals are mostly understated.  He let's the poetic lyrics do the talking ("Puppeteers" is a particular standout), rather than crowding them out or dressing them up with an over-the-top delivery.  When he does expand his vocal range on "The Man Who Knew Too Much", it's all the more impactful, conveying an entirely new level of passion.

From time-to-time The Greatest Event does stray from the orchestral folk formula.  The banjo on "Sing Till There's No Song Left" has a tame Mumford & Sons sound to it.  Later, the chugging "Over And Under" serves as a perfect road trip soundtrack...if you were travelling by covered wagon.

Despite a hooks-be-damned approach, The Man Whom does put together a compelling album with strong songwriting.  Look for him to tour Canada sometime this summer.

Best tracks: "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "Sing Till There's No Song Left"

Track listing for The Greatest Event:
  • Easier To Run
  • Sing Till There's No Song Left
  • I Know Your Face
  • Leavin' Town
  • Over and Under
  • Call All the People
  • Autopilot
  • Puppeteers
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much
  • Till It's Gone

No comments: