Barry McCormack: Mean Time review – criminally underrated Dubliner delivers

Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 05:00


Mean Time

Barry McCormack

Hag’s Head

Singer / Songwriter

Here we go again: a criminally underrated songwriter who doesn’t make ends meet from music alone releases yet another album that stands heads and shoulders above batches of work from songwriters that are raking in moderate sums from millions of Spotify streams. C’est la vie, and so on, and it isn’t that we think Dubliner Barry McCormack actually cares deeply about this. It is, as they say, what it is.

Yet Mean Time is laden with the crackle of Bob Dylan’s personal-political “it’s doom alone that counts” narratives, and as one track leads into the next you are left wondering (again) why McCormack is so overlooked.

The basic song structure here is, perhaps unashamedly, classically Dylanesque; the quotable lyrics roll out of evocative, sometimes anxious storylines so readily that if you don’t pay attention you’ll never catch up, and if something like “they are serving killer salad on the shores of the Baltic” (Lived Through This Before) doesn’t get you, then a line such as “I’d been peeking out the window at that suspicious white van . . .” (You Will Understand in Time) most certainly will.

One of 2019’s best arrives just in time for Christmas. Lucky us.