Strawberry Blood isn't terrible, just mundane.
Jon Lusk 2009
Also known as Edmond Enright, singer/songwriter Mundy is humungous in Ireland, where his collaborative version (with Sharon Shannon) of Steve Earle's Galway Girl was the most downloaded song of 2007 and 2008. This is his fourth album since debuting in 1996, but several listens in, any sense of curiosity about the first three remains elusive.
Apart from the title track's folky, acoustic strum, the occasional countryish twinge and the incongruous use of retro beat-box percussion on I Miss The Country and Pepper In My Dreams, much of the album strives for a generically anthemic indie sound, courtesy of producer Joe Chester. Maybe this is aimed at all those Snow Patrol fans out there waiting for a convincing follow-up to Chasing Cars. But with neither a distinctive singing voice (somewhere in the mid-Atlantic…) nor much in the way of memorable tunes, the results are often bland.
And the lyrics? Mundy’s predictable rhymes and platitudes are just too prevalent to be overlooked. Just in case you were wondering, ''If you can dream it/you can achieve it'', January Is Blue and Love Is A Casino. Got it? The arrival of guest vocalist Shane MacGowan helps lift the latter, although this might well be because he slurs his words so much you can't really hear what he's singing.
Strawberry Blood has its good points, for sure. Opening single Waiting For The Night To Come has competent, radio-friendly hooks and youthful energy.
But it’s an awful long wait before the inspired wide-eyed soft rock of Fever, with its warm keyboard drone and decent backing vocals by Gemma Hayes.
The photograph of Mundy's band in their boho best in the booklet recalls one that graced the sleeve of Captain Beefheart’s oddball opus Trout Mask Replica, but sadly this record is cut from far more conventional cloth. The appeal of plenty of other more talented artists has mysteriously failed to cross the Irish Sea before, so who knows what the future holds for this one? Strawberry Blood isn't terrible, just mundane. On the other hand, maybe that's exactly what people will like about it.