Canadian born, but raised in Ireland, Cormac Russell has taken his music across the globe, including England and China. He released his second album titled 'Nately's Whore' in September 2019. Playing all the instruments himself, he draws from a diverse range of influences; from contemporaries like Mac DeMarco and Nick Cave to literary giants like Walt Whitman. The album takes its name from a character in Joseph Heller's Catch 22, and this book played an important role in the work's evolution. In the mean time, he launched the album at The Workman's Club, Dublin and appeared on Irish radio. Regicide is his third album.
Starting with When the Queen Goes Down, presenting a hypothethical, not so distant, post-Brexit scenario. Has anybody actually thought what's gonna happen when the Queen is gone? Mostly spoken word track is a quirky composition that will get into your head surprisingly quickly. It has a simple yet catchy melody and interesting approach to an unsual subject. That's in fact the songwriter's freedom, to write about whatever comes to mind.
Russell's vocal is like none other, unique tone and phrasing. Most of the songs are based on a strong guitar and drums arrangement, more spoken than sung but that's craft in its own right. There is a mixture of more rocky tunes with the softer ones. An example of the latter could be Yankee Fool. In this case, even the title brings the Wild West feel. The overall mood calms everything down a bit, there's the typical storytelling you'd expect from a songwriter. The track includes some nice melodic ideas, a few surprises along the way but everything for the sake of the song.
We mentioned the quirkiness of the album in general and nothing summs that up more than Dead Kings where the vocal sounds truly like an alien. Certainly interesting concept which makes you feel like travelling into outer space, into a different world where time doesn't really exist.
Leaves in a Well maintan the unconventional vibe. The track has a dark uneasy feel, even the vocals sound weary, as if the end of the world was approaching. The influence of Nick Cave can be clearly felt here.
"you're just drifting from yourself, like leaves into the well"
The Stars Are Calling Me change the mood yet again but not as much as you may think. The title suggests darker ending yet the arrangement is slightly uplifting, the fingerpicking does the trick. The lyrics are deep, planting the seed into the listener's mind of being grateful for the time on the Earth and not living with regrets.
Regicide may take some getting used to for some listeners but like a wine, it needs time and if you get to its core, it's worth tasting and exploring.