Review Archive

‘Hand in Fire’, the debut album by Niall Kelly

(July 05, 2012)

There’s a comfortable, unperturbed feel to this music that smacks of summer evenings, watching theHand In Fire sunset with a bottle and a glass. ‘Hand in Fire’, the debut album by Niall Kelly washes over you with an untroubled informality that envelopes you in a friendly embrace.

There’s the faintest of suggestion that you’ve heard the opener ‘Lady Dancer’ before – and that’s not because it reminds me of someone else - it just hints of nostalgia. Any recall of the late sixties, early seventies Americana-tinged, narrative ballads is not too far away here. The breezy intimacy of ‘Working For Your Pardon’ reinforces the feeling of familiarity, while ‘Seen The Dreams’ with its stirring vocals adds an understated touch of sad unease.

Niall takes you deeper into his outlook on life with the touching ‘County Down’ complete with precisely-placed piano etched over the melody. Enjoy that and you’ll relish ‘Little Room' and ‘Tank’. Just when you’ve slipped into that chair and almost finished that bottle the title track ‘Hand In Fire’ the last on the album, changes everything with ripping guitars, rock inspired riffs and Niall’s voice metamorphosing from laid back to vivid vocal intensity. And despite the incongruity it fits with the rest of the album with all the easy elegance of a well-loved leather jacket.

Playing on ‘Hand In Fire’ along with Niall (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica) are Caitlin Kelly (violin, backing vocals) Vlad Soriano (lead acoustic guitar) Alex McBain (lead electric guitar) Alberto Manuzzi (piano, Hammond organ) Fran Okine (bass) Charles Benfield (double bass) and Ivan Kormanak (drums, percussion).

'Hand In Fire' is self-released by Niall Kelly and you can find it here. Go and find it you'll be glad you did.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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