Let Bad In is the second album from Northern Irish singer songwriter Ciaran Lavery. I first heard his voice a year ago and described it then as "beguiling, giving an emotional honesty to his music". That was in reaction to just one song and having now listened to an entire ten track album, I still stand by that initial assessment. Let Bad In showcases a seriously good songwriter.
I recently spoke to Lavery about this new album, released on 27 May and one thing came across clearly: his passion for songwriting, especially lyrics. Lavery says that as a listener, lyrics are the things that he really listens out for and I think that this shows in his song writing. A lot of the songs relate to days gone by and the past which helps the album flow effortlessly from beginning to end, a balanced listen which is a deliberate approach; Lavery preferring albums that hang together well with a general theme rather than just a collection of songs that bear no relation to each other.
I asked Lavery how he approached song writing and interestingly, he says that he's recently changed from sitting down to write a song to starting off "with a feeling, an inspiration" and now can write without having an instrument to hand. He goes on to say that "it feels as if there aren't as many rules of writing...it's a nice way to write, I can bank songs for a later date when they'll fit in with the current theme". Previously, any songs that didn't fit with everything else being written were thrown away although Lavery was quick to laugh and dismiss out of hand my assertion that he could have thrown away any number of masterpieces.
Other than Return to Form, above, one of my favourite tracks on Let Bad In is Wilder which turns out to be Lavery's favourite too, if only because he "enjoys the musicians that play on it"! Wilder showcases some great lyrics which isn't surprising as Lavery is a self confessed "lyric freak, it's the first thing to catch my ear as a listener". The line that caught my ear is:
remembering days when I was young enough to fail without them sticking in my throat
And another line that really spoke to me is from Tell Them All:
live a life where you can live it / give a hand where you can give it / never raise your glass to someone's sorrow
Talking to Lavery, it became clear that he suffers from an almost crippling level of self doubt about his music. He rarely listens to his own music, other than during the editing and production process and finds it difficult to accept praise (a family trait, he says). He needn't worry, his song writing really captures an emotional response in the listener which is complemented by his voice; soft when needed, raw when the song asks for it (this is is especially true of the title track, Let Bad In, where Lavery's almost raw vocals act as a faultless companion for the lyrics
I'm learning each and every day not to let bad in
There is nothing bad about this album; on the contrary, it's full of great songs that show off the very talented Ciaran Lavery.
Let Bad In is released on 27 May on Believe Recordings.
Before then, you can catch Lavery's live shows by clicking here (a mini European tour finishes in London next week) where you should be in for a real treat as he's been playing tracks from the album in live shows since 2015.
This first appeared on www.thoughtsofjustafan.com.