His baritone voice echoes the likes of Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. His guitar patterns reminisce of Johnny Cash and traditional folk. The lyrics, on the other hand, consists of everything but the usual subject matter. So, what makes Dublin-born Louis Brennan and his new LP ‘Dead Capital’ stand out? Simple. Contrast to his predecessors, Brennan delivers a rich tonic of sarcasm, dark humor, wit, sparse instrumentals, and a cynicism as delightful as pop.
There is a backstory as to how ‘Dead Capital’ came to be. It was recorded in Berlin with co-producer AA Fanning. Its content was inspired by the singer’s disillusionment, belief system, and personal experiences. The opening track ‘Airport Hotel’ starts with light acoustic strums before building up with piano, drums, and strings. It heaves into a dramatic chorus before the final refrain, ‘I can be better than this.’
The anguish behind ‘Bit Part Actor’ derives from Louis Brennan’s career move to music. With the hopes of making a record, he decided to quit his job and fly to London. He then became depressed and unemployed. However, the result was a heartfelt cut with meaningful instrumentals. While he croons with sonorous verses of despair, he finds an inspiring resolve at the end. ‘The Culture of Resistance’ embellishes with finger-picking, trance-like arpeggios, and doses of hilarity. Its a Cohen-like ‘The Stranger Song’ featuring both biblical references and political metaphors.
Next, the stand-out track ‘London’ builds upon ‘Bit Part Actor’s’ wayward theme. This time it expands on commuting in London and stuck in the ‘perpetual motion of a stationary life.’ What makes it the most delightful is not only its humor, but its full accompaniment. It dazzles with drums, acoustic and guitar melody, back-up vocals, and keys. The follow-up ‘Get on Top’ strips back the instrumentals. Yet, it maintains its pulse with a rich guitar tone and Louis Brennan’s sheer honesty. In essence, sex cannot overshadow the decay of a failing relationship.
The bitter ‘Silence’ is an entertaining rant of Brennan’s bottled-up resentment of compromise in society. ‘Selfish Lover’ is another highlight. It embraces not only full accompaniment, but also harmony, and complex, melodic changes. It returns to Brennan’s self-hatred, but also his undeniable wit.
‘The Narrative Self-Defeat’ is a further self-infliction of his past. His rumination of lost dreams is supported by acoustic finger-picking, drums, and accordion flare. Another Cohen-like ‘I Walked Away From a Glittering Career’ adds elegant strings, and lyrical pangs of materialistic society. The LP ends with the pub-sounding ‘Home Sweet Home’ that references back to his homeland Ireland.
Louis Brennan – ‘Dead Capital’ is out now. The albums track listing is…
- ‘Airport Hotel’
- ‘Bit Part Actor’
- ‘The Culture of Resistance’
- ‘Get on Top’
- ‘Selfish Lover’
- ‘The Narrative of Self-Defeat’
- ‘I Walked Away From a Glittering Career’
- ‘Home Sweet Home’