Review Summary: “Frankly my dear, I do give two fecks...”
This is the sort of find you can trawl two hundred albums to unearth, a hidden gem and a half that boasts some real potential with a capital P. Paddy Hanna (ideally you always hoped he’d be named Paddy) is the mythical Irish cult pub singer of my deepest dankest fantasies, the sort of artist you think could (and should) be ten-a-penny but when push comes to shove. You. Never. Can. Quite. Track. The. Blighters. Down.
This being a music album and all then yes, for sure, there’s music here - and for what it’s worth it’s a surprisingly lean mix of faux grandiose chamber orchestration combined with a swinging sort of indie pop jangle that immediately conjures up images of smoky bars and old school theatres. It’s what’s required, certainly, even a little better than that maybe. Thing is, this sort of affair is barely about the backdrop and all about the man in the spotlight; the bedraggled and bitter crooner commanding centre stage, gently swaying from foot to foot. Hanna is that man, his over affected singing style filling the exact middle ground between Morrissey, Cathal Coughlan and your absolute classic low rent ‘Shooting Stars’-esque club singer. He comes across as over confident, at times a little antagonistic too, and most of all he sounds like he should be drunk (if he isn’t already drunk).
Whether he’s bellowing out the chorus of ‘oh sugar...oh shugurrrr’ that seals the deal on the arch pop nugget supreme ‘All I Can Say is I Love You’, or firing up the would-be epic title track with groan-asides like ‘wine and keyhole surgery’ and ‘boil my legs for supper’, everything Paddy tries here will hit that elusive melodic sweet spot...eventually. Oh yes, you see, that there’s the rub with ‘Frankly, I Mutate’ - there’s absolutely nothing instant about it, a grower through and through.
Well, that assessment would be true if it weren’t for the album boasting the catchiest indie tune of 2018 in the form of the ‘I’m sure someone must have written this one before？’ insta-classic ‘Bad Boys’. That there’s your entry point, your key to unlocking one hell of a slippery customer; a true out of step and decidedly offbeat one-off that will love you back if you just let it. ‘Frankly, I Mutate’ hints that those mythical Irish troubadours of legend might just be out there after all, and if that isn’t worth raising a toast to then I don’t know what else is.