Review: Night Time in Montreal

Peter O’ Malley

As an Irish troubadour of a certain age, Peter O’Malley has certainly seen his share of St. Patrick’s Days. And he’s been the entertainment at many of them. Now this multi-talented singer-songwriter, cartoonist, wordsmith and raconteur has released a four-track CD entitled Night Time in Montreal.

Well-known in Brussels for his regular gigs at the likes of Celtica, The Old Oak and The Michael Collins, Peter’s new spinner is sure to shift pretty nicely, thanks. But what’s it like, then?

‘Pretty damn good,’ is the answer. The title track offers O’Malley sounding about as Irish as they come – it’s an old-fashioned Emerald Isle-style ballad but with distinctly modern lyrics (it’s partly about a conversation on Skype). Essentially it’s a long-distance love song, although it could just as well be a conversation with a daughter or old friend as a lover.

The lyrics are clever and the feel is all lovey-dovey-doughnuts: ‘Wait till I make a connection, your smile it lights up the screen. And as the miles disappear and the snow seems to clear…it’s daytime here but it’s night time in Montreal.’ Catchy and ever so cool – and a worthy opening toon.

Next up is Echo’s End, which is a tad in the Dire Straits direction, at least vocally – the guitar-work isn’t. The words paint a sorrowful picture of loneliness and isolation, focusing on a sad tale of whatever news ‘it’s not a good time to bring’.

Much more theoretically fun is the third cut, Secret Ground, which brought to mind in this listener a feel of Mr Morrison (Jim not Van) – the excellent chorus especially. Plus maybe a bit of Alex Harvey. This is another quality track…‘but you won’t hear without listening’…at which point you’ll discover it’s darker than it first appears.

The exit track, Clare, is another guitar-driven but gentle ballad with a lovely melody and not a little poetry. Wistful and whimsical, there’s a melancholy running through the track that, actually, is detectable as an undercurrent in all four.

In essence, this is a great mini-album that finishes too quickly.

As one mutual friend put it (in tongue-in-cheek manner), ‘This is Peter’s most mature work to date.’ Well, of course it is – the bugger’s 140 years old. Here’s to much more music and many more Paddy’s Days.


Review by Tony Mallett

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