Upon opening Eamon McGrath’s latest album, I was greeted with handwritten instructions to “Play it Loud as Hell.” These instructions serve the album well. The songs are filled with loud, forceful guitars and percussion as McGrath’s stripped-down vocals give a raw feeling to the album.
The album opens with heavy, psychedelic reverb on “Canadian Shield” before McGrath’s raspy, Tom Waitsinspired vocals lead the song into a modern rock jam.
McGrath’s musical influences shine through on the album. Long guitar jams on “Paper Boats” give a nod to classic rock, while distorted guitars and rough vocals feel grunge inspired. This adds to the chaotic feeling of the album as the track switches between soft vocals and headphone-shattering guitar solos.
The final track, “Running From the Cops,” marks an abrupt shift. The track features a minimalist sound as McGrath sings over spry acoustic guitar and harmonica. The album takes an introspective turn with lyrics such as “All my poets are ghosts turned into dust.”
Exile Part 2 showcases a more natural and raw side of his music and has a heartfelt feel to it. It’s polished and complete, but still has a raw and natural sound. While the modest 13 minute album leaves you wanting more, Exile Part 2 is part of a serialization. McGrath released Exile Part 1 on Oct. 15, and Part 3 is due out in June. When all
of the components are released, McGrath will re-issue them as a whole album on vinyl this summer.