Saturday, January 29, 2011

EP Review: Sacred Animals - Welcome Home


Having emerged midway through 2010 in mysteriously anonymous fashion, Sacred Animals have quietly nudged their way into the minds of many. The solo project of Wexford native Darragh Nolan, there is little fanfare about Sacred Animals, but with such an accomplished and rewarding piece of work there doesn't need to be.

Opener 'Wired, Islands', kicks things off with a decidedly sprightly beat before being swallowed by a mountain of mournful vocals and brooding synths, with only the soaring refrain of "You're not in control" peaking its head out for air. Indeed, this process of contrast is present throughout Welcome Home, as the carefully crafted opaque landscape is dotted with hints of luminous splendour, while lyrically there lies a fascinating polarity between the deeply personal and the more grandiose, life affirming questions which catch up with us all.

Nolan's vocals are outstanding throughout and strongly reminiscent of latter-day Thom Yorke. In fact, though it is very much it's own beast, Welcome Home does in some ways feels like a progression of In Rainbows, and I can't help but think that if Yorke and Co were responsible for these 4 tracks that the term 'genius' would quickly follow.

A detailed creation which rewards attention, there is a compelling, natural vibe to the overall soundscape which Nolan has crafted. This is the sound of winter bleakness and the glimmering prospect of warmth picking it's way through the clouds, as frost covered vocals are neatly embellished with silhouettes and pin-pricks, culminating in a captivating experience.

Sumptuous and intricate, Welcome Home is an accomplished debut which marks an instant rise to the top of the 'ones to watch' pile.

Welcome Home EP is out now. Stream for free and download for just €3 from here.

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