Recorded over a year ago during the briefest of breaks in Bell X1’s hectic international tour schedule (despite being almost totally unheard of in the UK, Bell X1 were recently seen wowing Letterman across the pond), David Geraghty’s second solo offering was put together in a West Cork barn full of marauding bats, additional artists that David claims you can pick out amongst the slower moments. We certainly couldn’t clock them, but you can see what he’s going for: the sound is intensely atmospheric, subtle and focused on simple instrumentation and melodic vocals. It’s both pointedly understated and often astoundingly wistful.
‘Tuesday’s Feet’ was the first single, and despite some oddly nonsensical lyrics (‘So watch the TV blow/ change the fuse/ throw it out/ don’t forget to reuse/ it’s Tuesday’s feet/ walking in Wednesday’s shoes’), is an endearing if not entirely stimulating piece of gentle, vocal-heavy guitar music. The intro to fourth track -Soft Spot’ is a near note-perfect rendition of Aqualung’s -Strange and Beautiful’, made Geraghty’s own with fluttering, heartfelt singing, while -Stones’, the slurring, soulful vocal highlight of the album, gets under the skin and tickles a bit before retreating into a world of slightly uninspired repetition and burying itself slightly in the process.
At times Geraghty delves into the land of country, while at others he’s dabbling in an area familiar to former band mate Damien Rice. In fact, over the course of -The Victory Dance’ he travels a path that starts at slow and downbeat, and progresses through forty minutes of well-written if slightly bland tracks before finishing up at a point best summarized as dawdling and downright depressing. Not that slow and depressing is necessarily a bad thing; just avoid this album if you’re of a delicate state of mind, and don’t expect anything quite as gently electro-indie-tinged or Talking-Heads-influenced as -The Great Defector’.
The Victory Dance is pointedly lo-fi, and delicate, a substantial departure from Geraghty’s day job, and best enjoyed as an album to listen to staring out of the window on a train through the countryside, or while drinking cider at the height of summer amongst bails of hay. As good as it is at times, The Victory Dance, melodious and restrained, never quite reaches the heights of Geraghty’s debut Kill Your Darlings. You can imagine the album sounding fantastic live, but on CD – unless you’re really into David Geraghty – you probably won’t miss it all that much.