Introducing: John Cathal O’Brien

John Cathal O’Brien is an indie-pop styled singer-songwriter from the US with a beautifully simplistic style that washes over you with some of the most soothing and calming melodies that we have come across in recent times.

O’Brien’s music is wondrous, uplifting and jovial – yet somehow he manages to keep it downplayed and understated. His songs are primarily based around his eager acoustic guitar melodies but he has produced stunning songs such as During the Evening which can be listened to again and again and find something new each time. His soft guitar is complimented by gentle drumbeats, occasional deft finger picked solos and the most temperate organs you’ve ever heard. They pipe away in the background almost sliding out of earshot as quickly as they have been noticed and at times you can swear that you can hear birdsong hiding away. It all produces a wonderful refreshing series of songs that you never tire of.

One of the most charmingly warming characteristics of O’Brien’s work however actually comes from his vocals. They are soft and tender, passionate and mild while being totally uplifting and also with a wealth of familiarity within them. He has his own unique style both musically and vocally, but at times you can hear a blend of artists in his word, from the likes of Belle & Sebatian to Nick Drake and even traces of Beck. His voice is a charming, enigmatic sound that is as soothing as any of his accompanying music. He has an almost ethereal talent to him as he somehow makes his vocals float high above the rest of his work, like a cloud drifting overhead his voice feels like something you could lay for hours in the sun just watching it all drift by.

O’Brien has a wonderful and charming skill of surrounding himself with music that is both uplifting and understated which allows you to focus almost exclusively on his soul warming vocals; to listen to his work on a loop and still find subtle nuances hidden away in each and every song.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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