Andy White: This Garden is Only Temporary review – Effortless and captivating

The Belfast man negotiates his way through nine songs that feature some of his best work

This Garden is Only Temporary
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Artist: Andy White
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: ALT Recordings/Floating World Records

Andy White's new album  might not set the world on fire but it will certainly make you think about striking a match. And making you think is what the Belfast man – 60 this year – has been doing throughout his 35-year career as a poet, troubadour, wanderer, singer, songwriter and one-man cottage industry.

White prefaces This Garden Is Only Temporary with the message “Arriving. Meeting. Home. Leaving”, and with these words that he negotiates his way through nine songs that feature some of his best work. Written in Australia and recorded between Calgary, Melbourne (his adopted home of some years) and his heritage home of Belfast, the songs roll out unceremoniously from start to finish, delivered with a still firm but laid-back Northern Irish accent.

That’s the thing with White’s strongest material – it sounds so effortless that it can occasionally come across as too relaxed. However, songs such as Not so Far Away, Tell It How You Feel, Everything’s Turning White (a tone poem described as being about “the inevitability of one afternoon”), and Take Me Back Home (a gorgeous memoir song about “girls singing in the street” and “the smell of French pancakes hovering in the heat”) highlight a stickler of a songwriter who is as captivating as he is evocative.

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Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture