`I Whisper To The Dawn` is the new album from Irish singer songwriter Jim McHugh, who hails from County Monaghan, in the Irish Republic. It`s his fourth album, where he moves gently from deep personal reflection to observations on the shape of contemporary society.
The album opens with `Can`t Feel Anymore` a fairly rocky number with a guiding drum beat and a restrained fuzzy guitar riff throughout with lyrics that seem to mirror the frustration of the current state of life and how social media influencers seem to hold power over the masses with their synthetic filled lips. We have a pretty reflective musing on love and life in `Cry My Name` where there`s almost a pleading in the vocal delivery. We enjoy a brief spoken word reflection before returning to the former sung oration. A track I have to say I played a number of times before moving on.
`Light & Love` has a shimmering guitar chord riff at its heart where the narrator takes us on a journey that touches on us relying on religious faith in times of trouble and a hint at what may have been the late Mr Cobain. I`m sure `On My Life` will resonate with most of us who have had some fairly dark days but manage to come out the other side. It`s a mid-paced offering that allows the singer to express these thoughts in an emotional almost oscillating manner.
`Burn Baby Burn` is not a cover of the Ash single but is fairly ballad like and introspective with lyrics that maybe i`m too obtuse to really decipher. It opened with a bit of a reggae vibe before becoming more anthemic. The track may well have been about the intensity of the storyteller`s relationship. There was a kind of dreaminess about `Charlie Boy` where again the lyrical content was beyond me but I just sat back and let the musical resonance wash over me. A delightfully enthralling track.
`Living Or Dying` for some reason brought to mind Thin Lizzy`s `Chinatown` maybe a line in that song or that the number does have, to me, a slight Celtic rock texture. The similarities end there and although the number`s pretty rocky, It seems to be a reflection on a current relationship and its pluses and minuses. The album closes out with `They Couldn`t Figure` which is stripped back with guitar and vocals which seems the right mood for this contemplative, ruminative observation.
`I Whisper To The Dawn` is a really engrossing listen and a superb introduction for me to another gifted Irish singer-songwriter and musician. The lyrics at times are thought-provoking and there`s enough diversity in musical style to ensure your attention throughout.
Jim McHugh sang vocals/backing vocals and played electric /acoustic guitars, and mandolin. He was aided and abetted by some talented musicians with Paul McCabe (bass / backing vocals), Paul Sherry (electric guitar), James ‘Butch’ McNeill (drums/percussion), Alex Borwick (trombone/backing vocals, synthesizer, piano), Pat Daly (strings), and Ronan Morgan / Brendan McCourt (backing vocals).
As Jim already has three albums out, i`m off to catch up with his back catalogue.
Hopefully, if you aren`t already familiar with Jim`s work, I can guarantee `I Whisper To The Dawn` is no better a place to start.
Rating 8.5 / 10