Ciaran Smyth – Like a Machine

Ciaran Smyth, the former guitarist for now defunct band Little Nightmare released his second EP, Like a Machine, this month. It’s a four track, alt-pop/rock masterpiece. I don’t really throw that word around often but, if these are the goods he’s coming up with only a year or so into his solo career, we’re even more excited to see his future efforts.

The EP’s opening track Million Soldiers is very classical sounding. A dramatic opening with tremolo strings and timpani leads to a fantastic, soaring backing arrangement for piano. Lyrically, it’s one of the strongest on the album with Ciaran announcing triumphantly “there’s no God.”

On Proposition, Ciaran duets with Hello Monroe singer Aimee Monroe. The piano led opening is dramatic and eerie but the track really comes into itself  with Aimee’s vocals. The track is evocative of the likes of Paramore, with a heavy rock sound dominating the forefront, but yet still retaining its overall pop sound. The bridge reminds me somewhat of Muse’s cover of Feeling Good.

The highlight among highlights is the ending and title track Like a Machine. Starting as an apparent low-key piano and guitar ditty, it soon crescendos into a thumping, sumtuous baroque sounding alt-pop (baroqalt-pop?) number that lyrically discusses the evil of mankind. Wonderful stuff worthy of many listens.

With fantasticly deft lyrics, singable melodies and dramatic arrangements, Ciaran will draw comparisons with the likes of Muse (as above!). However, there’s something distinctly different about his music. There’s a certain quality in his songwriting and his voice. Like a Machine will definitely open doors for Ciaran, and hopefully it’s not long until we hear a full studio album effort from the Dunshaughlin native. Now, to hit the repeat button.

 [xrr rating=4/5]

Have You Heard This Yet?… Lorde