Man of many bands, Paddy Hanna, will be releasing his début solo album on Popical Island this coming Saturday 25th. Entitled Leafy Stiletto, it signals a mature progression from projects such as the wacky Grand Pocket Orchestra, but is certainly not a fraction less compelling.
Opening with Rosslare Tapes, the development in Hanna’s vocals is instantly noticeable. Instead of relying on his distinctive falsetto—though not discarding it completely—he manages to explore far more of his voice, something which lends itself to the overall warmth of the album.
The songs themselves are quirky and brisk, with few making it past the three-minute mark. Unusual lyricisms and deft musicianship create the impression of an old pop record; the addition of harmonica on tracks such as Join The Army and The Flesh Of Julie Andrews filling out the sound skilfully, yet most unassumingly.
The whole album is a very relaxed and intimate affair, which I feel has quite a lot to do with its personnel. Here we find Hanna accompanied by his long-time No Monster Club and GPO bandmates: Bobby Aherne, Enda Cavanagh and Mark Chester. The sense of four musicians who clearly know one another inside out forging the most enjoyable, familial atmosphere.
It’s hard to pick out certain songs that stand out more than others because to be honest this is a real ‘album’ album. Each track can hold its own, but together as a cohesive body of work they are so much more. Simple, lo-fi arrangements that compliment Hanna’s newfound voice work well on songs that, at times, are quite stylistically at odds—be it the country twang of Mind’s Wearing Make Up or the more sombre register of album closer, Mud.
All in all, Leafy Stiletto makes for a wonderful, albeit brief, thirty-three minutes of listening which somehow manages to better itself with each listen. Can I guarantee that this will remain one of my favourite releases of 2014? You bet.
Paddy Hanna launches Leafy Stiletto on Saturday 25th January at Popicalia #21 in The Grand Social with support from Mumblin’ Deaf Ro and Knoxville Morning.
Download: The whole fucking album of course.
Musicians With Cameras also posted this lovely little promo video for the album featuring some songs and banter with the man himself.