CORMAC O CAOIMH – Swim Crawl Walk Run (own label)

Swim Crawl Walk RunCormac O Caoimh is a singer/songwriter from Cork and Swim Crawl Walk Run is his fifth album, although the first to come our way. He’s been compared favourably to the more introspective folk-pop artists like Badly Drawn Boy and Paul Simon and I can see that but after my first listen to his album I tried to come up with a comparison of my own. It is this: imagine, if you will, that Don Mclean was Irish and there you are.

As a soloist Cormac relies on just his voice and acoustic guitar but on record he is supported by his producer Martin Leahy on no less than twelve instruments and backing vocals with strings on three tracks by Aine O’Gorman – a one woman orchestra – and accordion from Pat Crowley on one track. Aoife Regan provides backing vocals.

There’s a lot about love and relationships on the album, a perfect example being ‘When My Kids Grow Too Old To Hold Hands’. Here, Cormac talks to his young wife – I presume – to the effect that even when his children are grown and gone he’ll still cherish her. He returns to a similar theme on ‘Slow Love’, a slow song with fast percussion.

Elsewhere, he’s defiant in the face of adversity. The opening track, ‘You Won’t Break Me’, states that quite explicitly, and the title track – ‘Swim Crawl Walk Run Ride Drive Fly’ in full – is about the search for freedom The final song, ‘Building My Ark’, co-written with Leahy, seems to couple that idea with the need for security. ‘Pocketfull Of Doodlings’ is a rather more light-hearted song but still with an underlying sadness. I must confess that I still find some of Cormac’s lyrics rather opaque but I’ll work on that. I do think that I’ve worked out the meaning of the title, though.

Swim Crawl Walk Run really flies by and the arrangements always grab the attention with, for example, the slow solo guitar which opens ‘Untitled’, a song that develops into a full-on rock band treatment for the chorus

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘I’m In Need’ – official video:

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