I think it’s only fair to start off this review by saying that Lisa Hannigan’s ‘At Swim’ has to be the best album I’ve heard all year. I’ll admit, anytime I listen to Damien Rice’s new album ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’ I catch myself wishing for Lisa Hannigan’s vocals to make an appearance. Meanwhile, Hannigan’s ‘At Swim’ is so hypnotic and powerful that it feel worlds apart from her appearances within Rice’s infamous debut album ‘O’.
From the calm yet eerie tone of folk-songs ‘Fall’ and ‘Snow’, to the sinister simplicity of ‘Barton’ and ‘Undertow’, the entire album seems to lead the listener into a false sense of security through Lisa Hannigan’s teaming of both serenity and themes of violence, distress and disarray. I’m so skeptical to call this album ‘folk’, because I feel it doesn’t give credit to the unique intimacy of this album. In what other album could you find the jazzy bustle of ‘Tender’ side by side with a piano ballad as strong as ‘Funeral Suit’?
‘At Swim’ is a personal and effortless insight into the inner-clockwork of a very rare musical talent, and you’ll fall in love it one track at a time.