Pearse McGloughlin & Nocturnes: The Rest review – held back by a sense of hesitancy

Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 05:10

   
 

Album:
The Rest

Artist:
Pearse McGloughlin & Nocturnes

Label:
Bluestack Records

Genre:
Singer / Songwriter

Much like his music, Pearse McGloughlin’s list of achievements is quietly accomplished. The Sligo-based musician has proven a prolific collaborator over the years, whether as part of the Urchin music collective or on albums recorded with his backing band Nocturnes (ie Enda Roche and Billy Donohue).

Their third album together is another characteristically understated collection of softly embellished folk songs, often with a softly sweeping cinematic bent, the faint burble of electronics or a tentative sense of the avant garde.

McGloughlin’s nasal voice is an acquired taste, drawing the most discernible parallel with Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue in places. In fact, several songs on The Rest sound distinctly influenced by that band, from the mystical instrumentation on Focus to the judder of guitar and whispered vocals of Golden Bliss.

Pearse McGloughlin & Nocturnes: Focus

The biggest problem is a sense of hesitancy that pervades this collection: just when you think a song is about to explode, it often flounders and sinks under the weight of its ruminative pace.

Whiskey Tree and Betting Pool are outliers in that respect – the former a more focused and tighter guitar and double bass affair with a clever turn of pace, and the latter an upbeat number that sees McGloughlin fully utilise his band.

There are plenty of lovely moments here – just not quite enough to get excited about.