Northern Ireland and Belfast is home to singer/songwriter Martin Bap Kennedy and his latest offering to the Gods of mellow goes through several different stages of folk-rock. Tiny bits and pieces of everything from Americana and Latino to the old Irish tradition of things and back again to mid-tempo rootsy rock. The darn right lazy and easiest way to describe his 6th solo album, "Let's Start Again", laid-back stuff (there's a clever word, 'stuff') inspired by the ancient likes of Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan.
Perhaps not always the absolute correcto mundo statement, but I told you I was being lazy and not going to nitpick. I do believe that most folks would agree on the overall feeling of the album though. There's however a lot more to Bap than first meet the eye or ear. There is always that underlaying sound of old school Country inspired by the ultra ancient legend of Hank Williams. I kid you not. Bap's been into both power-punk and Celtic melancholy in the past, but has clearly moved on to other arrangements and the slightly 'western' structure.
"Song of Her Desire" is just a lovely mish-mash of (very early) Dire Straits and Springsteen (his most rootsy and laid-back material). "Radio Waves", takes you on a journey through country and Van Morrison, while "Heart Trouble" steps back in time and space to Hank and big band's swing. Bap has retained his sense of storytelling, but the ease of which he pays tribute to one genre to the next shows a maturity that few manage to receive in their lifetime. There's a couple of oddities and darn right weird moments on this record and certainly not quite as instant or easy listening as his fellow label mate Henry Priestman. You simply need to spin this several times and then let the low-key mood melodies slowly sink in. Recommended. Urban "Wally" Wallstrom