Niall Mc Guigan — Spiritual Anarchy
((Not on label) no#, 2019, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-10-27
Mc Guigan is an Irish musician and practicing music therapist, specializing in medical ethnomusicology (music and healing within shamanic and neo-shamanic traditions). Over the years he has played in a number of different bands playing every style imaginable from rock to metal to funk and reggae and Irish traditional music, and a bit of all that and much more comes to the fore in his own releases, beginning with his debut studio release Awareness in 2016, which was quickly followed up in 2017 with Live at St. Anne’s Church, Dublin. At hand is Mc Guigan’s latest studio release Spiritual Anarchy from 2019, ten tracks that span his range of interests, all featuring thoughtful lyrics dealing with his spiritual journey and cultural conditioning through self-inquiry and the quest for truth and freedom. It’s part folk, part roots rock and perhaps a little bit of everything else in his varied background, and features superb playing by all. Mc Guigan sings and plays guitar and mandolin, and composed all of the tracks except the closer which is a traditional cover. Joining him are drummer Karl Cosgrove, bassist Paul Mc Cabe, Paul McElroy on guitar and mandolin, violinist Rafal Szydlowski, and Clare Foley on backing vocals. Opener “Simple Message” starts with an intro of mandolins backed by deep growling bass for about half a minute until the singing and drums join in, revealing a solid rock presence that truly sets the stage for all that follows. “Don’t Let the Music Die” takes a softer more intimate singer-songwriter approach, the violin backing througout makes for a beautiful melodic passageway. Again, “Butterfly” makes great use of mandolins, violin, and vocal harmonies, the lyrics regarding transformation and change, slowly morphing into a more folk-rock presence. “Talisman” takes a more folky approach, its introspective lyric “There’s no need for a talisman… you are the one that you’ve been waiting for,” backed with beautiful harmonies and violin making it one of the album’s standouts. The title track is another winner, a powerful rocker with great vocals and strong harmonies that even features some Tuvan throat singing in various parts to great effect. All taken, Spiritual Anarchy offers an introspective view into the complex world of one of Ireland’s best singer-songwriters.
Related artist(s): Niall Mc Guigan
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