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Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew

Lisa Hannigan, Sea Sew

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LISA Hannigan’s Sea Sew was hailed by several Irish critics as one of the best Irish albums of 2008 following its release in September last year.

Now that it debuts on English shores we can see why the Irish press raved. Hannigan is a really talented performer who combines folk and indie tendencies to completely winning effect.

Previously best known for her work with Damien Rice, the singer-songwriter has now decided to go it alone and has already won fans on both sides of the Atlantic, with Jason Mraz asking her to accompany him on a 42-date US tour last year, and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody dueting with her for the track Some Surprise.

On her solo album, songs such as Lille and Ocean And A Rock helped land her a Choice Music Prize nomination.

But the whole of Sea Sew is brilliant, and you’ll be pretty sure you’re going to like it from the very first song.

Ocean And A Rock is a delightful opening salvo that provides a fine showcase of Hannigan’s assured vocals and her fondness for weaving cello, violin, and piano into her songs. It’s compulsive listening, with just a passing nod to the style of Bat For Lashes.

There’s a wonderful vulnerability to its follow-up, the stripped back Venn Diagram, while Sea Song ups the tempo with some slick banjo-style licks and a keen sense of melody. The violin work, too, is inspired.

Hannigan mixes tempos well, too, as songs such as Splishy Splashy and the superb Lille display a heartbreaking simplicity and beauty that serve as nice contrasts to the breezier, more indie-like I Don’t Know and the piano-based, ethereal Pistachio.

Hannigan may have started life as a notable supporting act for the likes of Damien Rice, Herbie Hancock, and Snow Patrol, but now she’s basking in the glow of her own spotlight… and deservedly so.

Oh, and she also did the needle-work that’s featured on the sleeve of the album – is there no end to her talent?

Download picks: Ocean And A Rock, Lille, Pistachio, Splishy Splashy, Sea Song, I Don’t Know

Track listing:

  1. Ocean And A Rock
  2. Venn Diagram
  3. Sea Song
  4. Splishy Splashy
  5. I Don’t Know
  6. Keep It All
  7. Courting Blues
  8. Pistachio
  9. Teeth
  10. Lille