Together We Are All Alone
Together We Are All Alone is the latest project from Dublin songwriter Eamonn O'Connor, who wrote and sings all 11 tracks. Vocals are high up in the mix, with lyrics that are generally worth hearing. Overall the album is always listenable, at times energetic, at others heartfelt. But there is a sense that O'Connor is trying on different hats musically (including alt-country, protest, power-pop) and has yet to find the style to truly call his own.
Oddly, the band he has now formed under the name Lucky Bones does not feature on the album, which O'Connor recorded in Texas using local musicians. Having completed the album, he returned to Dublin and put together a band of Dublin-based musicians with which he could promote the album.
A couple of the best songs give an idea of the diversity of styles on offer. “Longshot” is a pumped-up song powered along by driving guitar with an addictive chorus. By contrast “Frank Sinatra” is laid back and languorous, with O'Connor taking the equally memorable chorus in a slightly higher key.
Among the influences cited on his website are Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. “Unbelieving Eyes” is a protest song about someone being beaten and kicked to death by a group of privileged youths, four of whom go to trial but only one is convicted. The song is reminiscent of Dylan's “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, which as well as being a great song is remarkable for the amount of factual detail Dylan inserted into the lyrics about the real-life case which inspired it. While you strongly suspect O'Connor's song has been similarly inspired by true life, the lack of such detail means you can't be sure, and as a result leaves you unable to empathise in the same way.
“Alice” is about calling up an old girlfriend after many years, ostensibly just to see how she's doing. This one is thematically similar to the Tom Waits song “Martha”. Unfortunately for O'Connor, the comparison is again not a flattering one, for “Martha” (whether the original version or the Tim Buckley cover) is a better and more rounded song.
Overall, while Together We Are All Alone sounds like a step along the path towards a satisfying concoction, Eamonn O’Connor and Lucky Bones are not quite there yet.
Release date: February 21