Mark Geary: In the Time of Locusts – Thoughtful, gracefully melodic songs that transport you

The Dubliner, one of Ireland’s best songwriters, has never wavered from his commendable craft

In the Time of Locusts
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Artist: Mark Geary
Genre: Indie pop/folk
Label: Sonablast! Records

Mark Geary has put in more hours than is perhaps necessary to establish himself as one of Ireland’s best songwriters. After five studio records and a batch of live albums, a recap of his career might be handy: in the early 1990s he resided in the same creative melting pot as Glen Hansard, Mic Christopher, Damian Rice and others. Then he headed to New York, where he quickly gained traction in venues such as Sin-é and the Scratcher. In 2002 he released his debut album, 33 & 1⁄3 Grand Street, which introduced him to the world at large, although whether the world at large listened is arguable.

Since then Geary has steadfastly ploughed on, irrespective of whatever commercial success might be viewed as. He continues this commendable approach with his sixth album (his first since The Fool, from 2017), which brims with such thoughtful, gracefully melodic songs that too often your gaze drifts across to some imagined horizon and gets stuck there – only at the end of the song does the attention snap back.

Of the 11 songs here, it’s difficult to choose which is the best – the likes of Hollow, The Last Throw of the Dice, Oh Suzanna, Coward, Release Me and The Great Escape subtly reference other songwriters you may be familiar with, but Geary has always had a knack of knocking influences into shapes that fit him like a glove.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture