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Mic Christopher - skylarkin (LOZA)

Mic died before completing this, his debut album, but his sister and friends have worked since his death in November 2001 to complete what is a permanent memorial to one of Ireland's great lost talents. After the Mary Janes broke up in 1999, Mic concentrated on his own music, a mellow and melodic sound that he often showcased live in Dublin venues, particularly Whelans. Many singer-songwriters tend to become very introspective on their first solo albums, but thankfully, this isn't the case with this, it's a bright and joyful release. It echoes other Irish acts like the 4 of Us and a number of American singer-songwriters like Grant Lee Philips, but Mic had a charisma and style that infuses the material here and made it truly his own.

Guests on the album include some of Ireland's bigger names like the Frames' Glen Hansard and Gemma Hayes, but this is entirely Mic's album, his voice and words are what it's all about. It's the kind of timeless music that can, at times, like on the beautiful 'Listen girl', make you stop, close your eyes and just listen. It's a particularly well put together album that seems to get better with every track, reaching a peak with the upbeat 'I've got your back' and the sublimely beautiful 'Skylarking', which is everything Grant Lee Buffalo was, but better. Then it winds down slightly for the last track, 'Daydreaming', which has a nice easy vibe for the end and it's all over.

"Skylarkin" is the sound of Mic Christopher celebrating life and it has become a celebration of his life and music. His death was a tragedy, but, with "Skylarkin", he has left us a large piece of what he was and it stands up well to his memory. Nobody could ask for more when they're gone.

Donnacha DeLong

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