herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

Finds is a keeper

Fine lyrics and a jazz groove mark out Niall Colfer's first solo album, Finds

I grew up in a very creative household where it was normal to be creative," says musician Niall Colfer. "It wasn't a big deal." Niall's delightful 11-track debut solo album, Finds, has just been released on 1969 Records. He's also crafting the soundtrack to a documentary about his brother, Artemis Fowl author, Eoin.

"It's nice to be asked to do that kind of thing," says Niall. "I was doing that when I was writing for the album. And it's good to work on something else for a while. You can take a break from it and go back with a fresh ear and a fresh mind."

Niall was a member of indie band Salthouse, but the Wexford man makes an artistic quantum leap with his solo offering. "We had another album recorded but we didn't have the energy to start doing the PR, so I decided to make a record myself," says Niall.

"I moved house and I got a spare room, so I put some recording gear in it," he says. "I wasn't really thinking about recording an album. Then I got a few songs done and I thought: 'There's something here'." You know that moment and I knew how it would sound."

Niall plays a variety of instruments, overdubbing guitars, keyboards and glockenspiel, as he works on each song. But it isn't just the know-how of producer Gareth Mannix who's worked with Republic of Loose that brings a shine to these songs. Colfer recorded half the tracks in his house without sacrificing the refreshing rhythmic groove that's notable from the opening cut After All That's Happened.

"I just happened to start playing with two friends who were a rhythm section," says Niall. " It wasn't a serious thing but it clicked into gear. These guys were into jazz and it had more of a groove."

The Colfer family's gift for language elevates these songs above the usual. "I've always been writing stuff," says Niall. "I hate lyrics that don't mean anything. The last song on the album, Lines And Space is written from a 17th Century mapmaker's point of view. It could be about anything. But if you listen closely, you can hear the references. I like lyrics that are intriguing."- EC

Niall Colfer plays at Whelan's on Wednesday, March 18th.

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