A Review of Irish-Spanish Singer-Songwriter Eric McGrath’s debut album ‘Little Ripples’
By Liam Oragh
When I first saw Eric perform at a recent ‘Apollo Session’ Open mic in Dublin I was struck by the lingering effect of his charming music, as I spent all the next day humming his songs from the previous night. Now that I’ve had a chance to take in his debut album, the first thing to say is how aptly titled it is; as what seem to be little ripples on first listen, soon turn into memory waves as that lingering effect kicks in – a propitious sign for the musical future of this young son of a Spanish mother and Irish father.
Kicking off with the breezy ‘Lets get curious’, this song has such a Summer vibe to it, with chirping birds and funky off-beat acoustic Spanish guitar progressions – sweet stuff.
Bringing us into ‘Ripples into Waves’ which shows up a lovely beach boys/surf music secondary influence underlying Eric’s work, with catchy melodies and strong lyrics.
‘A Lost Romance’, wistful and beautiful, very reggae-like on the guitar, telling the story of a love lost…lovely subtle production, with hints of Eric’s multi-instrumentalist abilities shining through with chimes of mandolin and/or ukulele.
‘Abuelo’ , another endearing short song, reads like a musical letter to his grandfather, with sublime use of the violin and some fine lyrics: “I can only hope that someday, I’ll be half the man you are today.”
Worth mentioning the subtlety of the arrangements, which can go from lush to sparse without ever over or under-doing it. This is music made to fly under the radar and to slip into your heart.
‘Alone we stand’, another fine track which stays with you long after it’s over, driven by Eric’s distinctive, plaintively plucked, nylon-stringed Spanish guitar.
Track 6, ‘These are the good ole days’ is one of Eric’s live radio favourites, and sums up his overall sound, with its breezy positive vibe, Irish with a Spanish tinge
‘Alluring Lady’ is as alluring as its title with gorgeous vocal melodies and harmonies, high production values again and more hints of 60’s surf music.
‘And here’s me thinking..’, another wistful and interesting ballad. Eric doesn’t show off his clear musical abilities (he had a violin put in his hands by his mother at age 2) overtly – he’s much more subtle and his music more satisfying because of that.
Another Summery number, ‘Carousel’, with its sea sounds and whistling and underlined again by those atypical Spanish guitar chords, this is a song that I can imagine other singers wanting to cover.
The second last track ‘Before you Left’, is a slightly moodier number with interesting piano-driven sound-scapes andcool use of dialogue samples including
Vodafone’s irritating automated answering multi-option service…’to exit please
Finally, closing out the album, is ‘60 seconds’, blissful harmonies that last for, you guessed it, exactly 60 seconds – a lovely end to a beautiful album.
This is easy listening rock with a surfy latin twist – equally at home in a late night lounge or to slowly wake up to on a Summer’s morning. This is music that stays with you, and brings you back to listen again, and again, y otra vez!
Link to Eric’s MT profile: http://musicianstogether.com/user/ericmcgrathmusic
Category: CD Reviews