Paul McLaney: Diamond Side (Loop)

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Paul McLaney: The Best We Could Do
Paul McLaney: Diamond Side (Loop)

Given the critical acclaim rightly accorded his last album Edin, you might have thought this follow-up by the prolific Auckland-based singer-songwriter would have been widely reviewed, but it seems to have slipped out with little fanfare.

Possibly there are two problems at work: McClaney is highly prolific (I have half a dozen albums under his name or with Gramsci) and this one arrived just before Christmas.

I wouldn't like to think there was a third issue: that these are very quiet solo acoustic songs and so don't thrust themselves at listeners/reviewers.

Recorded over two days in LA, these 12 songs find McLaney's supple and sensitive voice at its most intimate as he sings of love (mostly) in many forms. Only the somewhat arch lyrics by Douglas Wright to A Window in the Ache sound awkward (it must be hard to sing, "deoderise the joy") and the odd "hear the thousand silent sounds of breathing in and breathing out" don't quite gel -- but otherwise this hushed album full of delicate guitar work stands the equal of the best in McLaney's catalogue.

It seems a shame it is going largely unnoticed.

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