Until fairly recently, Robert John Ardiff was a member of Come On, Live Long, the Irish band that came out of relative obscurity, nabbed a Choice Music Prize nomination in 2017 for their second album (In the Still), and then splintered.
Ardiff’s new solo album (the follow-up to his 2018 debut, Between the Bed and Room) proves where there is fortitude there are results. Written during lockdown and inspired by Deborah Levy’s book The Cost of Living (in which she describes the apartment she lives in as “the corridors of love”), Ardiff pitches the album as “a love song to the forgotten, the left behind” and to the “anxiety that people feel because they can’t afford a house or a place to rent…trying to create art or raise children or buy food, and the people in charge don’t seem to care for them”.
There’s a creative sense of displacement and disquiet throughout the album, along with guerrilla snippets of musique concrete that root many of the songs. Tracks such as Hare Upon the Wind, Tightrope Walker and Break Upon the Waves (among others) display the contrasting measures of frailty and buoyancy that so many people have experienced in the past 15 months, with Ardiff managing to articulate such askew modifications with no unnecessary drama.