Following the recent release of singles 'Jimmy Stewart' and 'Johnny K', today Seamus Fogarty releases his new album 'A Bag Of Eyes' via Domino.
'A Bag Of Eyes' is a wholly different sonic prospect to 2017’s much-lauded The Curious Hand. Weary of the guitar, and seeking something darker than its predecessor, he chose to lean more heavily on synths and drum machines, and additionally, to self-produce. “It was about creating and exploring new sound worlds,” Fogarty says. “Experimenting with new ways of incorporating electronics into the songwriting process, and in some cases dispensing with conventional songwriting processes altogether.”
There is industrial judder, slacker-fuzz guitar, a cacophony of saxophones. On one track, ring-modulated drums kick in with oscillating fury. Another moves from 90s’ shit-hole grunge venue to sleazy jazz joint in four minutes. Whilst on a third, a synth is deployed with the express purpose of sawing the listeners’ ears in half, Fogarty attests. However, beneath them lie fragments of melody, image, drone; a flicker of banjo, an electronic pulse. “I like to purposely make music that clashes with the more traditional stuff that I do,” he says.
Fogarty’s celebrated storytelling is at home in this new sound world, rambling between the fantastical and the mundane: nuns playing volleyball, horses on clifftops, lives glimpsed through rear windows. There are echoes of his own past, the loss of dear friends. Ireland, London, and two views of San Francisco, 15 years apart.
If there is a restlessness to these songs it is there not only in their geographical sweep, their mingling of memory and nostalgia, but also in their sense of invention: audience anecdotes, a trad ballad cover, electronic fury, dirty guitar solos, all pressed fiercely together into something that feels startling and new and explorative.