Molly O'Mahony - The House of David
West Cork native Molly O’Mahony’s power lies in her ability to feel deeply and to convey that feeling through her words and her voice. Her main mark on the music of Mongoose, both in writing and performance, is the raw emotion at its core. The pandemic gave rise to an opportunity, when she returned to her home place of Ballydehob after a decade of living in Dublin, with nothing but time, a guitar and a broken heart.
With a back pocket full of personal songs - extensions of her compulsive journaling habit and products of all the life she had lived - she was compelled to step out, strip it all back and make an album that reflected her particular emotional experience of moving through the world.
The House of David is the product of her two years under lockdown, during which time she wrote, honed and recorded the songs which tell the turbulent story of her twenties; a journey through living, loving, failing and creating in the city that made her the artist she is. Sound boarded against the musical ears of her siblings, Matilda & Fiachra, and utilising their complimentary voices to sit alongside hers, the arrangements were carved out with vocals at the fore. The rest of the textures came when it was time to record the album properly in the summer of 2021, with producer Alex Borwick at the helm, and musicians Shay Sweeney and Ailbhe Dunne, chosen to fill out the rhythm section. The tracks were recorded in a concentrated haze of musical alchemy at Black Mountain Studios, Dundalk, over the course of just a week.
Finally, after a big crowd-funding effort and a timely bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, the album was made manifest. Molly has released three singles from the record - Remember To Be Brave, Brother Blue and Her Song - samplings which reflect the broad span of influences in her songwriting, her verbal virtuosity and her ability to convey pure feeling.
O'Mahony's vocals are spellbinding. Deep and powerful, full of passion. Once she starts singing , you're thrown right in the middle of an experience to remember. The title track gives the listener a clear idea of a skilled band letting the singer shine. Setting the perfect soundcape that doesn't get in the way of expression. Big sounding, orchestral or just intimate, whatever accompaniment is necessary. There's something warmly familiar about the vocal delivery, taking you by the hand, embracing you in the most needed moment, lifting up your spirit.
Brother Blue is one of the album highlights. Delicate, quiet, tearful. As you listen, you embark the emotional journey alongside Molly. Feel every word. We all know songwriting is a craft. You learn as you go. O'Mahony's imagery is so vivid that it affects the listener long after the last chord faded.
Fragile yet strong, full band and intimate, this record has everything for everybody. What prevails is carefully selected collection of songs capturing the soul of a human being, including all the vulnerabilities and everything in between. One of those albums you will listen to again and again and still discover hidden layers.