It’s easy to see where Margaret Healy’s going with Girls, Boys & Clockwork Toys. Downbeat, melancholy acoustic tracks; Irish accent; middle of a recession’¦ it’s an obvious market. It’s taken 8 years to get this second album on the shelf, and unfortunately, despite a couple of gems, it does little to justify the wait. The stand out is -I’m Sorry I Spoke’, a resigned surrender to an endless stream of domestic arguments; closing track -3am Mayhem’ is also worth a spin, though it’s anything but mayhem.
Healy does have a wonderful voice. It’s a gentle, high-pitched lilt that dominates the occasional flurry of semi-orchestral backing. At times her voice is so dominant she could easily be singing solo, and she never seems to be out of her depth. As good as her voice is, however, Healy’s words are often over-enunciated and sometimes painstakingly sappy.
Lyrically the album lacks complexity, coming across like an adapted fairy tale or a twelve-year-olds thought process, and not in a way that’s particularly endearing. She could get away with all of this, however, if it wasn’t for the fact that – despite all its subtly – Girls, Boys & Clockwork Toys just isn’t particularly memorable.
Combining a wistful sound with lyrics that lack any particularly profound thought leaves the album as little more than a very well made vocal showcase that leaves you skipping through the tracks when they come up on your iPod. Unfortunately, despite all her obvious ability, it’s easy to file Healy’s latest under -sophisticated elevator music’.