David Gray, Damien Rice, Paddy Casey… they make me yawn, they do. It would be easy to draw the conclusion that I’m not a keen singer/songwriter enthusiast. And you’d have a point, there. Still, here I am, pimping an Irish singer/songwriter.
Most of what you need to know about Declan O’Rourke can be found on his tidy website. I take it the title of his album refers to his time in Australia, where his family emigrated to when he was 10. Declan returned to Dublin age 14.
He’s a young feller still, but has that ‘old soul’ quality in his voice that hints at Bing Crosby more than Declan’s aforementioned guitar plucking collegues. Deeply romantic lyrics, like scenes from movies (No place to hide) or fantasy books (We didn’t mean to go to sea) complement the richness of his voice.
It was the single, Galileo (Someone like you), that woke me up from a slumber on a bus from Dingle to Dublin and made me go: ‘Who the fuck was that?!’
Like Luka Bloom’s Gone to Pablo, the song makes use of a ‘famous’ person’s story to convey more universal feelings:
“Galileo fell in love, as a Galilean boy, and he wondered what in heavens, who invented such a joy, but the question got the better of his scientific mind, and to his blind and dying days, he looked up high and often sighed, and sometimes cried: ‘Who put the rainbow in the sky, who lights the stars at night, who dreamed someone so divine, someone like you and made them mine…'”
Other songs are darker, full of loss and sorrow. ‘Everything is different’ laments a love gone sour. In ‘No place to hide’ two weary adults’ friendship threatens to slip into romance and in the final epic tune, ‘Marrying the sea’, Declan adds to Ireland’s wealth of folklore inspired tunes in which a feckless lover asks the sea to marry him. In vain, of course. You know the Irish, all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad.
Now, we’d like to encourage you to buy ‘Since Kyabram’, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to find an online store that carries it. So you’ll have to put it on your shopping list next time you visit Ireland.