Dermot Kennedy "Without Fear" review

For fans of Dermot Kennedy’s music, his debut album Without Fear has been a long time coming. The album was released on the 4th of October 2019 and has since climbed the charts in Ireland, gaining him the number one spot in his home country. Kennedy is a Dublin born singer songwriter who came to […]

Lily Hopkins
21st October 2019
Image: @dermotkennedy Instagram
For fans of Dermot Kennedy’s music, his debut album Without Fear has been a long time coming. The album was released on the 4th of October 2019 and has since climbed the charts in Ireland, gaining him the number one spot in his home country. Kennedy is a Dublin born singer songwriter who came to prominence particularly this year with his single Outnumbered.

Throughout the album, Kennedy balances heart-warming poetic lyrics with hip hop and electronic elements, creating a track-list that has a song for everyone’s own taste of musical indulgence. In a world where contrived lyrics scatter the charts, almost always accompanied by the melancholic sound of the acoustic guitar, Kennedy's album is refreshing.

Outnumbered [His most famous track] offers the audience the usual upbeat chart topper, however it’s the less renowned tracks on the album, such as: After Rain, An Evening and All My Friends, that offer the most insight into Kennedy’s musical ability, and shine an unexpected spotlight onto the social issues that have influenced his music. The lyrics in An Evening act as a reflective piece on Kennedy's childhood, discussing the misuse of alcohol and the feelings of hopelessness that accompanied his teens. The nostalgic atmosphere of the track is echoed in his raspy Irish accent, soothing the listener in the sometimes-uncomfortable nature of the lyrics. After Rain is particularly pertinent to the musical authenticity of the album, it exemplifies Kennedy’s impressive vocal range and demonstrates his uncanny ability to balance the light with the dark, both lyrically and musically.

It could be argued that Kennedy’s music tends to border on cheesy, however I believe that the inclusion of electronic instruments, original lyrical storytelling- all mixed with the influence of Irish folk music- ultimately comes together to create a cohesive album, well deserving of praise.

4/5

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