The pluck of the Irish sears and seeps through Ailbhe Reddy’s ‘Endless Affair’, her apposite follow-up to 2020’s critically acclaimed ‘Personal History’. If her debut dug and delved into autobiography then this new offering crawls under and trawls over an auto-ethnographic catharsis, an exorcising of demons, the exercising of dream-ons, banishing pasts, vanishing passeds. Moving on, growing up, slowing down, taking stock are all parts of life’s rich tapestry.

Co-produced again with Tommy McLaughlin soundwise the album veers and ranges from folkish rituals of remembrance (‘Pray for me’) to chugging motorik mantras (‘A Mess’), letting-rip rock (‘I’m losing, you’re winning’) to chamber-pop confessionals (‘Inhaling’).

Dramatically, schematically and thematically it’s a voyeurs’ summary of both internal and external matters, a self-assessment on the wrack and ruin wrought by unconscious pleasure chasing and the tell-tales signs brutally reflected back from the ever-revealing mirror. Psychoanalysing the lies and half-truths we feed ourselves Reddy has composed a self-help humanual for the ages.

Through this process of deck-clearing Reddy documents the rites of passage from warm(er) times of eternally sprung hopes and the follies of youth to the cool(er) climes and middle stages of looming autumn pastures, knowing intuitively when the party’s over and it’s time to cut loose. Literally and metaphorically.

The song titles tell stories themselves, a re-spinning of situations and reliving of lacerations: the Sundaysesque ‘Damage’ reveals the feeling for healing line ‘Open up the wounds and let ‘em breathe … breathe’, burying them beneath bandages or badinage only asking for trouble later.

On this emotional album Reddy finally calls time on the past, its missteps and mishaps, deadened hedonism and dead-end solipsism.