Kevin Nolan: Absent At the Moment When He Took Up the Most Space review – Skilful sketches

Absent At the Moment When He Took Up the Most Space
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Artist: Kevin Nolan
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: Self-released

It's either a brave or stupid move for an artist to release their early material into the public realm, but Kevin Nolan sees it as "paying his respects to a former self".

These selected recordings of the Dublin musician's work from 1997 to 2005 predate his 2014 debut, Frederick and the Golden Dawn, by almost a decade, and at 38 tracks long it's more than a little self-indulgent – particularly since many of them are minute-long instrumental sketches.

Leaving aside the proliferation of half-formed ideas, it's clear than Nolan has a keen sense of melody. With many songs strummed and hummed with a lo-fi "bedroom band" crackle, The Way I Feel for You Tonight stands out from the pack, its electric guitar and vibrant pop beat evoking Beck, while Adelade's Descent is a brazen but enjoyable homage to Yellow Submarine-era Beatles and the piano-led Dog Daze recalls the music hall whimsy of The Divine Comedy.

It’s hard to see who this scrambled collection will really appeal to, but it does make us determined to check out whatever Nolan does next.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times