Oisin & Malachy – En Route
When was the last time you saw nearly 50 people listening to a busker? Not for a while I guess. But that was the case recently in Grafton Street, Dublin. They were gathered around Malachy O’Connor, who was debuting the latest EP from Oisin & Malachy (pronounced O-sheen and Mal-a-key).
Despite their name the band hail from Western Australia, although they have ancestral roots back to the Emerald Isle. Whilst Oisin finishes his dissertation in Australia (not very rock and roll) it was left to his brother to spread the word about their latest release ‘En Route’.
The shoppers on Grafton Street are no strangers to Malachy’s sound. He makes an annual pilgrimage there and takes up something of a residency outside the rather posh Brown Thomas department store, not that anybody seems to mind. The same couldn’t be said of the police in Barcelona where Malachy was arrested for busking. He told me: “The police gave me like three warnings to stop, but the crowd were just so into it. They stuck me in prison for three days whilst the Australian High Commission sorted it out, but everyday they’d have me out of the cell to play for them.”
With his shoulder length hair and chiselled jaw line Malachy bears more than a passing resemblance to Australian action movie star Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers, Rush). It therefore comes as something of a surprise to hear the band’s sound, which is mostly laid back and chilled. The songs are constructed around memorable melodies, which given enough airplay would surely make them a commercial success.
The first track ‘Turn of the Sun’ typifies that style. It showcases the drifting away, summer love type of song writing that Oisin and Malachy have developed. Acoustic guitars carry the rhythm whilst harmonics, tapped out on the neck of the guitar, accentuate the lyrics. Lines such as “One smile worth a sea of pearls” carry the song along with an effortless charm.
The second track is “Bella”. It has the feel of a slow paced Neil Diamond song. He is the master of the short pause; which he uses to emphasise a particular line in a song. It’s a hard trick to pull off, but when you have Malachy’s emotional capacity it can be done to great effect.
Up next is ‘Heartbeats’. This continues the theme and tempo of the previous tracks, and leaves you feeling more chilled than a ninety minute four handed massage.
‘Dammit’ is an acoustic take on the Blink 182 classic, and leads nicely into the fifth track ‘Radiator’. Here there is a real shift of pace. Electric guitars dominate and the bottleneck guitar slide is put to full use in this Tex-Mex belter of a blues rock song. This track feels like it was born in the heat and dust of Mescalero New Mexico rather than Western Australia. It’s gutsy, raw and shows the depth of Malachy’s vocals, which have a hint of Pearl Jam’s Eddy Vedder about them on this song.
The final track has a similar feel to the first three. Quietly strummed acoustic guitars combined with lyrics that reference Temple Bar in Dublin give this track a sense of place and time.
Oisin & Malachy don’t have a UK distribution deal for their EP. However, you can listen to a selection of their songs on Soundcloud. Give them a go, and in the words of Malachy, “stay golden”.
Listen to Oisin & Malachy on Soundcloud