Having served his time in various alt-rock bands, Waterford musician Marc O’Reilly offers up his first solo effort My Friend Marx which he uses to deal with a plethora of topics – ranging from relationships to war.
The record has a folk-blues feel perfectly suited to O’Reilly’s gravelly tones. His gruff, yet soothing, voice compliment his understated guitar-playing and there is something very genuine in his work, a quality that’s right to the fore on the atmospheric ‘F.O.O.’ – where rhythmic guitar and melancholy strings battle with O’Reilly’s menacing vocals which also adds weight to gritty numbers like ‘Tell Old Joe’. The title track showcases O’Reilly’s natural story-telling ability, while ‘Family Reunion’, a reminiscent look back at his childhood, is another example of his talent for capturing a moment in time and creating a snapshot with his music.
For most listeners, My Friend Marx isn’t going to offer up anything particularly new or exciting – it’s not that O’Reilly’s output is sub-standard, but you do get the feeling you’ve heard it before. There are definite sparks of promise throughout, but he hasn’t allowed those sparks to truly ignite, instead reigning them in for a safer but ultimately more run-of-the-mill sound.