Review: Printer Clips
Paul Noonan’s project has plenty of personalities involved; if only they could resolve their differences
Venue: Vicar St
Date Reviewed: December 10th, 2014
Vicar Street, Dublin
At least three of the participants in this ensemble side project of BellX1’s Paul Noonan would have little problem performing in the venue on their own, so it’s a win-win for fans of Noonan, Cathy Davey, Lisa Hannigan and Gemma Hayes to have them in the one room, on the one stage and, for one song, huddled in a semi circle singing the chorus.
Noonan’s Printer Clips project (strays and orphans of original songs that didn’t necessarily fit in with BellX1’s creative remit) has been fermenting for some years, with two songs dating back almost 10 years: Vapour Trail and Some Surprise have previously appeared on 2006’s various artists charity album, The Cake Sale. Clearly, Noonan isn’t in any hurry to surge ahead with anything like a solo career, and indeed he seems rather comforted by the fact that this isn’t a solo gig.
This said, he starts off on his own with BellX1’s Godsong, a lovely tune with a Biblical bite in the lyrics, but then he’s immediately into this year’s Printer Clips album. As something to listen to on headphones, or even while peeling spuds, the record works its simple magic through hues of light and shade, grounded by Noonan’s intuitive sense of folk/pop melody and inordinately enhanced by co-vocals from the aforementioned Irish singers, as well as from the likes of Martha Wainwright, Joan as Policewoman, and Amy Millan (of Canadian band, Stars).
On stage, however, the dynamic is muted, with obvious nerves playing a part. While the contributions of Hannigan (Apparatchik, Some Surprise, her own song, O Sleep, and another BellX1 song, Rocky Took a Lover), Hayes (If I had your Grace, The Snowman), Davey (The Dolphins and the World’s Tallest Man, Mrs Winchester) and Danielle Harrison (My Rome is Burning) are virtually flawless, the overall tenor of the show is uncertain – particularly in the encore of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting, where a kind of shuffling awkwardness takes hold and dissipates the sense of occasion.
It’s an odd feeling to get from such a professional, if not seasoned bunch of people - they performed beautiful, delicate songs, one and all, but made for curious bedfellows nonetheless.