Endorsements from such figures as Thom Yorke, Ryan Adams and Michael Stipe have yet to translate into significant success outwith the realm of critical acclaim for Mark Mulcahy, a singer-songwriter of rare vocal expressiveness and lyrical acuity.
If the release last year of the final long-player by his revered group Miracle Legion underlined an uncommon knack for kinked pop melodies then Mulcahy’s fifth solo album emphasises how durable that gift remains, given the gap of 21 years that separates them.
Bookended by ballads that could melt a heart of stone – the beatific opener Stuck On Something Else and the saxophone-smeared Geraldine – The Possum In The Driveway nevertheless has the power to disappoint, with ditties such as Catching Mice and Hollywood Never Forgives, however well-intended, merely coming across as flippant. Therein, you suspect, lies a clue as to Mulcahy’s continued presence on the margins.
That said, when you’re faced with songs as happy/sad as They Broke The Spell, you’re reminded of another great American outsider, Mark Eitzel, and the fact that biggest rarely means best.
Reproduced with permission of Herald & Times Group.