Album review: Slow Place Like Home

Slow Place Like Home - When I See You... Ice Cream! (Strange Brew Rekkids)

Slow Place Like Home.

Slow Place Like Home.

THE SECOND album from Donegal vocalist, composer, and producer SPLH - aka Keith Mannion - contains what may be a first, or at least a rarity, in electronic music - the use of a waltz rhythm.

The distinctive 3/4 time, so associated with classical music, forms the bedrock of 'Monocles & Ribbons' - but it' unusualness perfectly suits Mannion's ruminative vocals, heavily echoed to making him sound as though he were a choir of monks chanting. The vocal, its haunting melody - so redolent of an indie-rock approach, but here welded to electronica - and the song's ebb and sway, make it a stand-out track.

That meditative quality is continued on 'Juno' over which vocalist Glaze Is Ghost floats, haunts, and inhabits like a spectral presence. Likewise the occasional saxophone lines, which may reveal the influence of Roxy Music's Andy MacKay. An actual choir features on 'Cooper Kinetic', which, while not the last track, still feels like a giant, confident summation of all that has gone before.

And this is a confident album - but it's not all head and think music. It is electronica, a form which demands to be danced to, and here the title track is key. It's jumping, blipping, beats and fills, the interplay of the male and female vocals - the former acting as verses, the latter as a kind of bridge/chorus, is utterly infective, and worthy of Röyksopp at their best - and after that, what more convincing do you need?

Slow Place Like Home launch When I See You... Ice Cream! at Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh tonight at 8pm. Admission is free.

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