Review Archive

‘The Quest for Rest’ from Ottersgear - aka multi-instrumentalist Mikey Kenney

(October 24, 2012)

‘The Quest for Rest’ is an original album from Ottersgear - aka multi-instrumentalist Mikey Kenney - who is at pains to point out that Ottersgear is not a band as such. The album offers a different look at songsOttersgear from ‘an original album of the same name’ – are you keeping up with this? The 2012 version offers the same but different or in Mikey’s words: “All of the old songs have something new to offer; they've come a long way since 2008 and so have I.” That may be but that’s asking people to part with their hard-grafted coinage to hear a new take on something they might have heard before. 

So what of ‘The Quest for Rest’? Well, it’s certainly one of a kind, and in its own inimitable way is perplexingly attractive. There’s Mikey’s quavering, tremulous vocal delivering the songs in a voice people could find equally appealing or infuriating. There’s the close-coupled Irish and Americana folk feel to the tunes. And there’s his anxious, sometimes downbeat, often stirring narratives woven into convoluted songs. Listen to the sad tones of ‘Eye Of Eyes’ with its mournful violin, or perhaps the carousing foot-stamping ‘Down In The Faery Glen’ or the self- reproaching ‘Brown Morning’ to sample the various moods. And then to find the stand out song listen to ‘Walking With You’ complete with infectious melody and versatile vocals.

To further confuse the innocent listener, Mikey also refers to an album that’s almost ready to see the light of day, featuring a ‘live studio band’ version of Otterrsgear. Wondering how that works? Well ‘Quest for Rest’ Mk I found Mikey on violin, mandolin, banjo, guitar, reed organ and vocals plus other instruments, through the simple (not really) expedient of multiple recording layers. For ‘Quest for Rest’ Mk II that remains the same. Ottersgear ‘live’, which will deliver the next album, has morphed into Mikey plus Dan Haywood (guitar, banjo) Andrew Raven (guitar) Charlotte Weatherill (accordion) and James Munroe (bass) ... how long any of this remains thus is anyone’s guess.

Take a chance, listen, invest some coin, you might love it – many will, I did.

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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