Emmét McGonagle is a local folk musician based in Limavady and Belfast. He has just released his debut EP Marigold. All I can say is from start to finish I was completely engrossed.
I found the main focus throughout was on the lyrics. Each song is pure poetry and the lyrics are so relatable; you can attach your own life experience onto them with such ease. Let’s look at the first song “Nothing New“. “Pick your heart from the ground. You know that it’s not summer anymore. You’re trying to hide but your lying face burst on the floor. Cause now that she’s gone life’s been scaring you worse than before. There’s no one to keep you warm.”
I feel everyone has some form of connection to these lyrics. The song was only a minute in and already I was exploring the meaning of it and attaching my own experiences to them. I could tell I was going to like this EP.
The guitar work throughout is very simple but juxtaposes the complex lyricism perfectly. Emmét’s songs do not need a lot going on in the background. It is one man and his guitar with very classic Leonard Cohen vibes. No unnecessary rubbish, just raw poetry.
The second song “If You Need Someone Around” is a perfect continuation from the message set up in “Nothing New”. The guitar is much more complex this time; it very much reminded me of Jose Gonzalez. I can see his music is evocative of a variety of different singer/songwriters whilst he puts his own personal stamp onto it.
I love that throughout the EP you also get glimpses of that Northern Irish accent which makes the music all the more authentic. It is refreshing to see someone embrace their cultural heritage through their accent and there isn’t a desperate attempt to conform by covering it up.
“Change of Hue” is the third single on the Marigold. I’ll reiterate, the lyrics throughout this song are so moving. Segments such as “I came for retribution but I left I left here feeling bruised and I can’t help myself falling in love with someone else. I can’t help myself anymore,” are very emotive as well as soothing. He is able to contrast serious and often sad topics with a comforting tone which gives the song a new level of relatability for the listener. The song is underpinned by a repeated finger picked melody which provides the perfect backdrop for the Damien Rice-esque vocals.
The final song of Marigold is the perfect end to a quality quarter of songs. “We’ve Got Time” has a very chilled tone throughout it. It ends on a different note to the other songs in that there is a glimpse at hope through the bleakness. Lyrics such as “We’ve got time for second chances. Just as long as you know, we got time for second chances. I’m holding close, I hope I don’t end up alone.” The song strongly reminded me of Alt -J Something Good with its simplistic guitar work and bitter sweet lyricism. I found it the perfect way to end.
The entire EP gives the listener an honest glimpse into true, raw human experience, something we don’t get a lot with music. I cannot emphasise enough how beautiful the lyrics are for every song. With each song you get a flash of memories from your past that you can easily pin onto the beautiful words of Emmét McGonagle. I highly recommend Marigold and I for one will be keeping up to date on any future releases.