Reviews Kodaline In A Perfect World

Kodaline

In A Perfect World

Mohill is a rural Irish village in county Leitrim, it's nice, quaint and generally doesn't divide opinion. To use an Irishism: sure it's grand. It's also where the majority of the songs on Kodaline's debut album In A Perfect World were written. In effect what Kodaline have done is written a powerful, evocative album, that has them on the precipice of filling stadiums, in a part of Ireland known for rolling hills, quaint towns and picturesque surroundings. The self described "4 lads from Dublin that make music" decamped to a house in Leitrim owned by guitarist Mark Prendergast's parents and created an album with a sound that swells far beyond small town surroundings. 

The band originally got their start in 2007 as 21 Demands, a boyband with questionable hairstyles, on You're A Star, an Irish reality TV show that was equivalent to a smaller scale X Factor. Two years ago they shelved their former moniker and became Kodaline, a change which makes sense - no one in their twenties is the same person as they were in their teens. What followed was heartbreak, dropping out of college and time on the dole, all appropriate fodder for what has turned out to be an impressive album.

Every lyric line delivered by lead singer Steve Garrigan is with a frisson of urgency where it sounds like every single breath of air is going into the vocal. This passion is also obvious in the harmonies that are regularly contributed from the other band members and shows a synced up style of performing. Most of the tracks on In A Perfect World deal with break ups, but with uplifting and inspired undertones, like the impossibly hooky "High Hopes" and the beautiful "All Comes Down", which features backing vocals from friends of the band. It comes dangerously close to matching Elbow's"Grace Under Pressure" for feel good factor and is a perfect example of how much stronger and enhanced a song can be with purposeful group vocals, it feels like you're personally being cheered for. "Brand New Day" dreams of escape from dull, familiar routines and surroundings, "They said they'd keep me here/But I couldn't do another year" gives an excitable sense of adventure. "Pray" is a slightly morose song, wondering if someone is thinking of you as much as you are of them, and has a haunting quality before the vocals subtly build until you're surrounded by a sea of stunning soundscapes.

There's heartbreak, flings and important life decisions but delivered by Garrigan's syrupy vocals and backed by harmonies that veer from delicate to energetic marks this album out as a compelling listen. The album's artwork consists of broad, expansive landscapes and it appears that the music on In A Perfect World fills the gaps and almost creates the memories around the landscapes.

8.5 / 10Aideen
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Tor Johnson Records
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2013

8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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