Irish singer/song-writer Susan McKeown offers up her latest solo-album endeavor titled ‘Belong’. The latest album effort sees McKeown offering up an album of original songs, showcasing some lovely song-writing talents. Much of ‘Belong’ is pushed along by McKeown’s presence, backed up incredibly comfortably by her selection of backing-musicians and the odd guest or two. Everything results in an enjoyable album experience where nothing is rudely thrust upon the listener, but instead presented calmly and comfortably, inviting the listener into the album experience without agenda. At times, there’s some elements to ‘Belong’ that could be deemed as unoriginal or dull, though McKeown’s natural charisma and personality helps keep things moving at a lovely pace.
‘Belong’ seems to weave between conventional adult contemporary settings, combined with elements of folk and folk-rock, resulting in an interesting experience with levels of diversity between the tracks. There’s common themes and motifs running throughout the tracks, mostly through the instrumentals, as well as how they’re being presented on the album itself. For the most part it’s all rather enjoyable, mixing up between up-beat and catchy tracks, with some more down-beat yet equally enjoyable gentler moments. McKeown’s lovely vocal talents help push the tracks along, lamenting about experiences or little notions and ideas, sometimes backed up by lovely complimenting vocals from a few guest friends of hers.
Whilst there’s many appealing and enjoyable elements to ‘Belong’, certain parts of the album seem to come across as rather typical of the genre being represented, and not really showing us anything new or incredibly interesting. Though there’s rather a lot of strengths to ‘Belong’, it seems that the album is for the most part simply playing things a little safe, and not really exploring ideas to their fullest extent. The album experience works well for the most part, but certain tracks seem a little too held back, and whilst they benefit from not being over-produced and muddied up with unnecessary elements, it does feel like a little something could be added, just to give it a bit more of a boost.
Susan McKeown’s latest album effort is one that is easily enjoyable and immensely accessible. McKeown demonstrates a comfortable and approachable natural talent of song-writing, one that comes through without pretension. Most parts of ‘Belong’ just feel natural and comfortable, with the music hitting the right notes to create a nice and easy-going album experience. It’s a rather strong and enjoyable effort from McKeown, highlighting a number of strengths in her song-writing talents, a talent that should perhaps be explored more in future releases.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- On The Bridge To Williamsburg
- The Cure
- Lullaby of Manhattan
Susan McKeown’s latest album ‘Belong’ is out now.