The liner notes/booklet for the self-titled album from The Butterfly Graveyard (which is the brainchild of Terence O’Connor along with the Corkonian producer Herbie Macken) would indicate you’re in for something overly-lyrical and self-indulgent. There’s references to Shelley and Prospero, as well as songs about Fenian mythology. However, on the surface (all that is under the surface to be explored on further listens), it’s a wonderfully melodic album in the vein of Blue Nile’s Hats.
Opening song and debut single ‘Writing You Off’ is a gorgeous tune carved out on a wonderful ambient landscape. Herbie Macken did a great job here (he has previously worked with Gavin Friday, Daniel Lanois, and Bic Runga) and no note seems superfluous.
‘Underdog’ is a gritty Jack White-style tune, and is much more aggressive than the opener. The album mixes these ups and downs, the mellow and the heavy perfectly. It’s a wonderful meld, but wouldn’t be complete without O’Connor’s sharp vocal. Three years in the making, this is an album that epitomises hard work, and shows in its construction.
‘Pray’ is the song that stands out as being the most influenced by the Blue Nile, and the whole thing is sure to appeal to fans of the Scottish band (particularly as there’s been nothing from the Blue Nile in 6 years!)
The album contrasts brilliantly: ‘One in a Million’ is a haunting, sensitive tune, whereas ‘Sunburn’ could easily be a radio single.
Overall, it’s an enchanting record that yields more with each listen – especially when you take time to investigate the beautiful lyrics. ‘Butterfly Graveyard’ particularly, it’s full of fantastic lines “The sad muse sat like a photograph / Biting her nails with worry / And the lark sang and his song it rang / It was me for you and you for me”.
A wonderful debut, it’s out now on Oracle Records.