David Long and Shane O’Neill both have their roots in the early eighties, a time of new-pop, new wave and post-punk, a time of experimentation and adventure, a scene capitalising on the opportunities left after the punks had kicked down the creative barricades. So it comes as no surprise to find that their songs ring with the chimes of those times and indeed it isn’t hard to hear the echo of New Order’s adventurous spirit, of The Go-Betweens sonic poeticism, Echo and The Bunnymen’s drama and dreamscape.
But, this is no album built on past glories and plagiarism, musical plunder or productive pilfering and for every nod to the past, there are a dozen steps into the future. All artists have a past, it informs their signature sound, it is part of who they are and that is all that is happening here, its the soun of th artists personalities percolating through their creations.
Having fronted Into Paradise and Blue In Heaven, respectively, and having known each other long enough to bring the best out of each other through the process of collaboration, David Long and Shane O’Neill have produced a masterpiece, not a word that I bandy about lightly, of anticipation and understatement, an album that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat…or whatever the aural equivalent is… and does so with only a few deft and delicate strokes.
If the brilliance of Earth Moves, which opens things up, might suggest a front-loaded album, nothing is further from the truth. Far From Home is a gorgeous blend of groove and grace, jaunt and gentleness, the title track is a haze of cool minimalism, chiming guitars catching the musical light and cutting through like shards of sonic glass and Dreams Come both kicks arse and cuts the mustard, and does so beautifully.
In this final paragraph of the review, I would usually try to succinctly sum things up with witty prose and selective soundbite but I will instead leave you with these three words.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!