Jack Rua: Narcissus review – Glorious, serious songs with maximum clout
If there are strong whiffs of Lady Gaga, Madonna, David Bowie and Prince in Jack Rua’s debut work, then there are also vigorous elements contained within that underline the Dubliner’s individual, expressive voice. In other words, the lyrics tell the real story: Rua’s life experiences as a queer adult graduating from college, travelling from Ireland to New York City, embarking on a long-term relationship, and then nursing a shattered heart when that ended.
Thematically, Narcissus is fashioned in demanding self-realisation, a chronological sequence of songs that, in Rua’s words (and which directly reference the album title), “structurally resembles me looking at myself in the mirror”.
The juxtaposition of EDM, high-energy and dramatic, lip-smeared glam rock with lyrics that reflect no small sense of self offers on one hand joyous escape and on the other forceful readings of emotional riot acts.
The tracks – titled simplistically for obvious narrative reasons – push one into the next with no purpose other than to increase the room temperature. Rise focuses on a personal reawakening, Curious celebrates sexual fluidity, and the topical Reckless Abandon views unpredictability as the only certainty in life.
In creative partnership with Irish musicians Porridge (Chris Cahill) and PureGrand (Luke Faulkner), as well as Cork rapper Darce, Rua delivers a glorious, serious mini album with maximum clout.