Myles Manley: Cometh the Softies review – An end-of-year album for all seasons

Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 05:00


Cometh the Softies

Myles Manley

Witter On


Dublin-based Sligo songwriter Myles Manley has been roaming along the fringes for more than 10 years, initially in New York, where he involved himself in that city’s always interesting but occasionally self-congratulatory anti-folk music scene. On return to Dublin, he released three EPs, eventually gathering their songs on to his 2013 debut album, Greatest Hits 2012-2013.

Self-effacing tongue-in-cheek status duly established, Manley has continued to ply his craft, fusing the creative influences he soaked up during his stint in NYC (Jonathan Richman, David Byrne) with levels of lyrical sharpness and keen observations that come from having a clear sense of identity.

“A pleasingly discordant cross of acerbic gloom and Whitmanian jubilance” is how the album’s press release describes Manley’s work and it is that, but Cometh the Softies is more than a sharp tongue and bipolarity of emotions.

The narratives throughout are galvanising, despite the tiresome preference for whimsical song titles (take your pick from Relax; Enjoy Your Night Upon the Town, Were We Under Attack from England?, and I Heard Your Mum Call, Michael) that epitomise the aren’t-we-clever tropes of the not-quite-outsider songwriter.

Highlighting topics such as gender, individualism, acceptance and disrespect, Manley is adept at laying bare evident inequities.

Factor in the buoyant rumpus of the music and you have an end-of-year album for all seasons.