Mark Mulcahy: Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You

Fri, Aug 23, 2013, 12:30


Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You

Mark Mulcahy

Fire Records


Everyone loves Mark Mulcahy – a state of affairs made all too pointedly by the (possibly) ironic album title. Yet it’s true. Here is an American songwriter – a songwriter’s songwriter, no less, who has been honing his craft since the 80s, when he was a member of the much admired US indie band, Miracle Legion – who is held in high esteem by the likes of Thom Yorke, Prince, REM and Wilco, and many more. Frankly, it isn’t difficult to understand why – Mulcahy’s first album in eight years oozes class, varying shades of unease, and a sense of ethical creative commitment.

Despair is never far away from genius – you don’t get to create works of substance without there being some kind of spur or initiative (other than ego-gratification) to kick you into the start position, and so it proves with this record: Mulcahy’s wife died some years ago, leaving him with a broken heart to piece together and twin daughters to raise. The work rate for the album, therefore, was teased out, track by track, studio session by studio session, with no real deadline. Time just didn’t matter.

What mattered were the songs, and what we have here is a bunch of tunes that sway (often playfully) from one side to the next across a range of traditionally upbeat music styles (pop, rock, a jangly guitar marriage of the two) and, far more importantly, an array of insightful obervations that run the complicated gamut from friends and relations to love, maturity, and a begrudging understanding of how to engage with tragedy.

Vivid songs such as I Taketh Away, She Makes the World Turn, Poison Candy Heart, Bailing Out on Everything Again, Let the Fireflies Fly Away and Where’s the Indifference Now spin on a different kind of axis that would, usually, be the norm for a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’. The songs here migrate from start to end with fun, finesse and a final question: how can Mulcahy turn what is familiar into a ‘how the heck did he do that’ look on your face?

Download: She Makes the World Turn, Poison Candy Heart, Bailing Out on Everything Again, Where’s the Indifference Now