Paddy Dennehy took three years to put together ‘Little Light’, but his debut album reveals he has things to say, either through his own stories or interpreting other tales.
The singer-songwriter’s imagination comes alive with the opening title track, before moving onto the single ‘Painting of a New Country’. The song deals with an all-encompassing relationship, making a sovereign state with just two passport holders. Paddy’s language really comes alive as he sings “We murdered God right on your kitchen floor.” Producer Christian Best has made a record that feels big and intimate in equal measure. ‘Strange Wings’ proves this, questioning what we’re all thinking through a song that could easily fill arenas with for an act like Mumford & Sons.
Cork-based Paddy’s emotive vocals run throughout as recurring themes emerge, like religion and winning people back. It’s no surprise these themes merge on ‘Abednego’, which tells the story of one of the advisors to the King of Babylon in 400BC. The fire imagery within contrasts nicely with more modern references in the lyrics like a loud TV. Even if you’re not hot on your religious history, the stories have a wide appeal. The music carries you through the ride of ‘Little Light’, including the slow build of ‘St Peter’s Replacement’ and the personal ‘Snow Song’. The balanced closer ‘One Good Reason’ shows a more depressive side of Paddy which was only hinted at earlier in the album.
In recent single ‘Feed The Full’, Paddy crafts the issues in his life into something beautiful. The never answered questions form some of my favourite lyrics of 2020. A particular favourite is: “Does he sing for you with a midnight choir? Does he arch your back and set your soul on fire?”
I relish real storytelling in music, and this album is exemplary throughout. Comparing Paddy to Hozier feels like a cheap shot, but they share a similar passion and honesty. The truth can overwhelm when threaded through fiction and retelling fables, but it holds together nicely here.
There’s songs about attempting to win people back. In this album, Paddy Dennehy has shown he has the potential to win people over. It’s a promising beginning.