Album review: AISLING JARVIS – A Handful Of Bad Ideas

AISLING JARVIS - A Handful Of Bad Ideas

BEO Records [Release date 01.09.14]

From the opening lines of the addictive opening number ‘Your Shoes Don’t Fit’, there’s no doubt that singer songwriter Aisling Jarvis hails from the Emerald Isle with that distinctive and captivating brogue shining through.

With a shimmering/ glistening ambient guitar sound the 22 year old Dubliner has self-produced an accomplished debut which sees her performing on a myriad of instruments including guitar, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, keyboards and percussion.

Too often, self-penned, self-produced and self-played albums can be  overly introspective affairs but ‘A Handful Of Bad Ideas’ signals a bright new talent on the block with Jarvis’ vocal delivery falling somewhere between Sinead O’Connor and Judie Tzuke.  But it’s tempered with the attitude and assurance of Damien Dempsey, and the sassy indie pop youthfulness of Kate Nash and Lily Allen.

It’s a curious amalgam that combines mainstream singer songwriter appeal with elements of punk, indie pop and subtle Celtic connections.  The question is will it appeal to broad church or fail to find favour with any?

I suspect it could be the former although it’s impossible to second guess the fickle public – certainly tracks like ‘Your Shoes Don’t Fit’ and ‘My Words And Sounds’ have the ability to strike a chord with audiences of all ages and A Handful Of Bad Ideas is a very fine debut.  I would, however, have liked the lyrics to be included.

No review would be complete without mentioning that Jarvis is the daughter of Moya Brennan.  But frankly, that’s a superfluous fact – A Handful Of Bad Ideas is a long way removed from Clannad and stands up to scrutiny in its own right.  One to watch.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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