With morose tones and a sadness so numbing, suave indie-pop act Bleeding Heart Pigeons’s second album takes you down to a sullen low, only for the faint glimmers of hope to lift you back up again. Recorded in west Limerick and produced by the group’s vocalist, Mícheál Keating, Stir is an independent release following their major-label 2016 debut Is and from the get go, it’s a fully transportative and immersive listen.
The daunting opening track, Bubble Boy, plummets you into a world where emotions are assessed, measured and contained. Using intentionally sterile synths from Cathal Histon and calculated percussion by Brendan McInerney, a chilling atmosphere is created. With character-driven songs like the title track, where we hear the ramblings of an unhinged preacher, and the coolly distant I Don’t Love You Anymore, Keating’s vocals and delivery reach icier depths than what he has previously displayed.
There’s a sense of detachment that embodies almost every song, especially on All for the Best and Real Connection. However, in an expected twist, the warmth that comes from Good Dogs Never Die – a song that is very much about loving man’s best friend – would melt the coldest of hearts.
Aided by Keating’s falsetto and rolling synths to match, it’s a beautiful and heartfelt way to close an album that’s so full of bristled feelings and tense observations.