From Cat Malojian to just plain Malojian to Malojian with Steve Albini, Stevie Scullion’s musical growth just keeps going.
Supported by The Northern Ireland Arts Council the trip to Chicago to work with the legendary producer Albini has really paid off. Albini has helped take Scullions songs and give them all a real character and a variety of characters at that.
This Is Nowhere takes Scullion’s mid Ulster songs out of the folk song default that he started out doing and channels this collection through Beatle and Beach Boy influences and then adds distortion and musical quirk, of the most beautiful and tasteful kind. Oh the harmonies and the jaunty rhythms of the title track before imaginative frazzle of electric guitars remind you that Nirvana’s producer is at the controls. Stunning.
I’ll Be Alright has a Twelfth Day drum beat intro before being driven by acoustic guitars; Whittle Me Down is as delicate introspection as anything you’ll hear this year - “it’s raining in my soul”; The Great Decline with its piano brooding. The lovely love song that is Lean On Me and You’re A Part Of Me are tender love songs and Calling Borneo the most humorous look at tele-sales-people and I’d love every career’s adviser in Northern Irish schools to play Dam Song to their pupils - “Everybody wants to be/Something great until they see/It takes time/These things take time.”
This is a record with variety in sound and thought. It is an unmitigated success!