The full title of Only Child’s latest album is Looking Forward to Look Back: A Decade of Only Child and does indeed take a look back through their first ten years. With songs remastered by Peter Maher (U2), this album shows off the art of storytelling through music, with songwriter and frontman Alan O’Hare at the helm.
Alan and his ensemble hail from Liverpool, a fact you would be hard pressed to miss when listening to Looking Forward to Look Back; the love for Liverpool and Scousers is there in virtually every line of every song. ‘Scouse‘ and ‘William Ralph Dean‘ are particular gems that celebrate Liverpool and its people, albeit with very different styles. ‘Scouse’ continues in the Americana vein of the whole, while ‘William Ralph Dean’ is an altogether rockier, edgier song.
My favourite track on the album is ‘Bruce‘, a gift of a song that details grief and loss and who you turn to when overwhelm beckons. From the everyday things that soothe and ease the pain to the loneliness that accompanies loss, the heartfelt lyrics ring true:
“the empty impression where your loved used to be”
is a line that speaks volumes in its simplicity – loss is all about the things that aren’t there anymore. The lyrics in ‘Bruce’ are all the more powerful by being juxtaposed against a melody that is full of danceability, something that is true of many of the songs on this album. ‘
‘Everybody Comes from Something’ is another track full of danceability, catchy as hell and also tells a ripping good story. Overall, there is a lot to love about Only Child.
Alan’s advice for aspiring artists is all about what being a musician actually is:
“To make somebody else care about your obsessions is the job of an artist. Communication is the lifeblood of all art and a connection can be made between two people. Don’t aim any higher than connecting with one more person. Anything else is ambitious. Be true to your art and the obsessions it encourages. There is no job more noble than that of the artist.”
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