One day Robbie Williams will cover this man’s songs…

Joe ChesterI’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I’ve decided to big up an underated Irish artist.

I very rarely buy an album on the basis of a review only. However, something about an effusive Hot Press bit last year made me part with my shillings for Joe Chester‘s A Murder of Crows.

And it’s a joy. It’s rather unusual for an album to be all killer, no filler, but each of these tracks could be a radio friendly stormer (in an Adult Contemporary – ugh – sort of way).

It’s very difficult to find fault with this record. Each track on first listen seems polite enough and everything chugs along nicely, but then out come the hooks. Every track has at least two memorable hooks (which makes at least 20 hooks, about 18 more than on Bell X1’s last album -only joking, love your work, darlings).

A Murder of Crows Album ArtHis voice too is rather good. He holds back most of the time, but does let loose on the closing track, Anyway (PS: Robbie Williams, when you’re done with Tin Tin, record this and let Señor Chester retire on the proceeds). It’s odd to think that such a strong vocal could come from such a skinny guy (from the pics I’ve seen, he looks like he could do with a breakfast roll or two).
Joe Chester picSpeaking of Anyway, that track is a good example of the rich, warm sound on the album. And seeing as JC’s day job is as a producer, fair enough. The whole thing sounds like it was recorder in California with squillions of dollars (rather than in Wexford). I’m sorry I mentioned California now, because you may think of The Thrills, but JC is like a grown up, better produced Thrills with a merciful lack of annoying accents.

The album was nominated for the Choice Music Prize 2006 for best Irish album. The top prize went to Julie Feeney‘s 13 Songs, which is very good too, but I think Joe wuz robbed. But perhaps you should judge for yourself.

I’m posting a link to How You Wish, You Feel, a track that JC is himself shring in his MySpace page (I hope he doesn’t mind). It’ll give you a good idea of what to expect. And if you like it, but the album. It’s also beautifully packaged (is there anything he can’t do? 🙂 ).

Download How You Wish, You Feel – Joe Chester



  1. Brian

    Sounds wonderful. I shall download immediately. Listened to the entire Jummy Cake album Dublin Gone. Everybody Dead. and while it may not be wholly consistent, there is some fantastic big sound on it, especially on the first cut. Stephin was entertaining, he did one called ‘walking my gargoyle’ and ‘the book of love’. I’ve yet to order Showtunes, waiting to get it at a reasonable price and have none in stock. If you’re around at the end of April, Jenny Lewis is playing. I’m gleefully awaiting her album. hugs..

  2. Enda P Guinan

    Hmmm, the Jimmy Cake I’ve not given my full attention to. Are they a bit noodly? I’ll have to get a sample of them somewhere.

    Is Jenny Lewis taking her twins with her to Dublin? I really like some of the Rilo Kiley stuff – great songwriting.

  3. Brian

    a bit of jazz noodling in places which is where it lapses…
    Jenny is taking her twins to Dublin, that should be a fantastic night. I ordered her album along with Neko Case’s.
    been listening to tons of podcasts…. like a kid in a sweet shop at the moment. I can’t recall ever being so excited.
    night night

  4. Pingback: Whither Joe Chester? « Daddy or Chips?
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