Meet the Limerick-raised poet and performer mixing post-punk and spoken word.
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Limerick’s Sinead O’Brien describes her hometown as “a kind of grey industrial place with a certain poetry to it.” These words could easily be imparted on the music spawned by these surroundings, a swirling mix of spoken word and off-kilter post-punk. With a handful of tracks under her belt – and her debut Drowning In Blessings EP underway – O’Brien blends an overbearing, claustrophobic sound with her distinctive artistry. Her words – a mix of the concrete and the fantastical – sit against an often droning, minimalist concoction of drums and guitar. Much like contemporary post-punk revivalists such as Idles and The Murder Capital, O’Brien presents a sound that is simultaneously urgent and intricately layered.
Latest single Roman Ruins doesn’t hold back on its unusual sounds, from its deliberately jarring opening tones to its lyrical musings on belonging, presented in part as the communications between two cats. It’s representative of O’Brien’s unique delivery, one that has attracted attention from the likes of legendary punk poet John Cooper Clarke and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, both of whom she has joined on tour. O’Brien’s knack for language has also seen her write for London Magazine, which in the past has published words by T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath and William Burroughs.
Perhaps the very definition of art-pop – sitting on the fringes of musical convention – Sinead O’Brien makes observations on the self and our surroundings with a resounding dry wit. As bleak as it is playful, it carries the same anger and frustrations displayed by more overtly irate contemporaries, yet presents it with an unparalleled eloquence.
More essential Sinead O’Brien tracks
Fall With Me
A Thing You Call Joy
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