Friday, January 26, 2007

Album Review: Fionn Regan - The End of History

It seems that the singer/songwriter is a curious creature; they’re always incredibly depressed about something or other. Maybe they actually do have no other friends, and are forced to vent all of their sadness through the songs they write, maybe they’re just taking the old mantra “write about what you know” to another level. In any case, you’d be forgiven for expecting the newest singer/songwriter on the scene, hailing from Dublin, would release an album full of rainy days and broken hearts, the sort that seem to multiply any gloomy feelings you have while you listen.

Thankfully, Fionn has decided to buck the trend, and what we have is an astoundingly beautiful, while often-nonsensical, debut album that rewards the listener with every further play. And while there is some of that trademark despondence throughout, the overall tone of the album is lighter than that . Opener ‘Be Good or be Gone’, arguably the album’s stand-out track, has a chorus that is completely infectious, while the shuffling drums on ‘Hunters Map’ augment the mysteriousness of Fionn’s lyrics. On ‘Put a Penny in the Slot’, Fionn sings lyrics you can’t help but smile at: “I apologise/I seem to have arrived/home with items in my bag from your house”, and even manages to name-drop Paul Auster and Saul Bellow, all while we wonder what in the world he’s actually even singing about.

While some of the album (specifically the latter third) comes off as a tad bland, the album as a whole showcases Fionn’s potential. While The End of History is by no means perfect, there is definitely the possibility that in another album or two we could have someone to fill the still-now-empty void that Elliott Smith left years ago.

Instead of an album full of depressing self-pity, Fionn has released a debut of startling brilliance, with the kind of maturity that is most uncommon for a debut album.