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Songs About Love, Songs About Leaving
Steady as she goes for Irish troubador
Colm O Hare, 24 May 2012
The sometime New York-based Mark Geary has travelled a long road since his debut, 33 1/3 Grand Street was released a decade ago. His success has been gradual rather than spectacular. He has a loyal following and deservedly had several songs featured in high profile movies and TV dramas, most notably One Tree Hill and Bones.
But not much has changed over the years as far as his overall approach is concerned. In fact he’s the quintessential singer-songwriter: with just the barest of accompaniment – mainly his gently-plucked acoustic guitar – the songs on this, only his fourth album to date, are textbook exercises in quiet melancholia. And while the prevailing mood seldom varies there are enough strong tunes and melodies to make it a worthy addition to his canon.
The one exception to the rule, ‘Get Here’, a pleasant country-ish romp comes as a welcome respite to the generally downbeat atmosphere. Opener, ‘Fireflies’ recalls early Simon & Garfunkel, the haunting melody and fragile vocals almost chamber-like in their effect; ‘That’s What They All Say’ with Jenna Nicholls on backing vocals boasts a memorable melody; and elsewhere, there are some lovely vocal and instrumental touches on ‘Cali Solo’. A standout is the atmospheric ‘Falling In The Fires’. With its lovely harmonising, it is tailor-made for a TV or movie soundtrack – don’t be surprised to hear it back-dropping a tender scene on your screens sometime in the future.