GIVEN STRANGE Brew Rekkids' releases to date have been firmly rooted in electronica, the sound of a gentle electric guitar, piano, and an oboe playing a melody faintly recalling Bette Midler's 'The Rose', is the last thing you expect to hear.
Yet this is what greets the ears in 'I Saw The Man II', the 'prologue' piece which opens Frankly, I Mutate, the latest Strange Brew Rekkids release, from Dublin singer-songwriter Paddy Hanna. Hanna's music ranges from chanson to country ('Ida' ), to late night rumination ('Spanish Smoke' ), and odd-ball pop ('Reverend's Grave' ), underpinned by a knack for a big chorus or arresting hook. The acoustic guitars, piano, and orchestra arrangements deliberately recall the kind employed by Lee Hazlewood and Scott Walker in the 1960s, and more recently by Richard Hawley.
Above it all Hanna's voice soars free - a deep, manly, croon, one minute, a country drawl the next, all Bryan Ferry mannered and eccentric after that ('Bad Boys', 'Toulouse The Kisser' ) - yet this unpredictability works. In the context of his particular brand of retro, sophisticated, quirky, yet infectious pop, it sounds just right.
Odd, yet intelligent; challenging, yet accessible, Hanna is a left-of-centre talent, who warrants every bit of praise he is getting, witness Frankly, I Mutate's recent inclusion two recent articles in The Irish Times - 10 Best Irish Albums of the Year (so far ) and The 12 Best Overlooked Albums of 2018 (so far ).
Paddy Hanna plays the Róisín Dubh on Sunday July 22 at 8pm as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. Support is from Sinead White and Dowry. For tickets see www.giaf.ie Paddy also plays the Strange Brew Summer Shindig #14, on Thursday August 2, starting 7pm. For tickets see www.roisindubh.net