Ciaran Lavery, Let Bad In.

Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery releases his second album Let Bad In. 

By Jane Howkins

Singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery has released a new album, titled Let Bad In. Whilst the singer-songwriter genre has gotten a little tired over the past five years or so, Lavery has managed to produce a set of songs that stand out from the crowd, and provide a little sanity from the overworked genre that is a refreshing change.

What’s particularly nice about Let Bad In is that it actually sounds like what a good singer-songwriter album should sound like. Most of the releases in that category over the past few years (bar perhaps Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling) have just been albums full of people singing with an acoustic guitar. Technically that does count as being in the genre, so long as the singer is also the songwriter. But this sort of music should really be folky, emotional and just a little bit obscure, whereas a lot of modern singer-songwriter music has instead just been pop music played on a guitar. Lavery thankfully trumps this, and whilst there is a pop bent there (and it’s really not as folky as Flynn’s work), it’s closer to Damien Rice than Ed Sheeran, which is a good thing.

The only major criticism of Lavery’s latest effort is that so much of it seems to be at a similar tempo, with a similar rhythm, and ad infinitum. The songs are good, but a little more variety might have been nice, as casual listeners may find it hard at first to get into the album. However, this is ever so slightly reminiscent of the boss himself, Bruce Springsteen at his most folky, with the tempo aspect being almost similar to his critically acclaimed album Nebraska (released in 1982), which also sounded a bit samey at first.

Once spun a few times, it all comes together and flows well, but at first, some of the tracks are a bit too familiar. But otherwise, Let Bad In is still a fresh sound for a tired genre, and if you’re into the singer-songwriter sound but have also found yourself a little bored with it, then check this out, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.