We've barely made it past the midway point of 2021, and I had never heard of Lorkin O'Reilly last week at this time, but as of today, his upcoming Marriage Material album is one of my more anticipated releases for the remainder of the year.
That said, there was absolutely no way I was going to get through a piece about O'Reilly's "Still You" without referencing Aimee Mann's 1995 I'm With Stupid album. I'll admit it, I'm a huge fan of Aimee's, and have been since she unloaded on that pompous stuffed shirt (who was probably named Schuyler or Carmichael) at the theater way back in 1984. Subsequently, it is completely impossible for me to see the old school Fisher Price alphabets sets in O'Reilly's video without become unstuck in time and spinning, say...
That aside, O'Reilly and Mann would seem to have very little in common once you get past the acoustic guitars and confessional songwriting. A much better comparison is a cat who seems to get less and less love from the press music with each passing year despite consistently exceptional, and often emotionally harrowing, material. I'm talking, of course, about the great Lloyd Cole. If you're planning on riding a painful breakup into the fall and winter, I recommend you stock up now with 2003's Music In A Foreign Language, 2006's Anti Depressant and a couple cases of Beluga. Then, find a neighbor kid who doesn't mind running to the corner 7-11 for +20% on top of the receipt.
Clearly, Cole likes to get a little clever here and there with his wordplay and cultural references, whereas O'Reilly is more plainspoken about verbalizing his bare emotional wires, which he often does in a barely audible manner. Subsequently, lines like, "I leave the TV on, and it plays and it plays" are liable to inflict blunt force emotional trauma on impressionable and/or imbibing listeners.
I also really like the video for "Still You." Sure, I'm guessing is was shot on a wing and a prayer (and free pizza for everyone who showed up to hold a light), but it completely works within the context this song. And for some reason, it reminded me of a comment I once read about the works of painter Edward Hopper, that, paraphrased, went something along the lines of: as lonely as Hopper's landscapes are, his paintings depicting people are far lonelier.
A bit more about O'Reilly. The young Scot was born in Edinburgh, and made his way to upstate New York in 2012 to work on a farm. There, he stumbled upon a discarded acoustic guitar in the basement, and immediately set about learning to play and writing songs. It bears mentioning that Tom Waits' musical career has a similar backstory, albeit legend has it that the guitar Waits found was in such a state of disrepair that it could only be tuned to the key of F-sharp.
In hindsight, that makes perfect sense.
Soon after, O'Reilly recorded his After The Thaw EP, which was well enough received that he stuck with the music thing (while continuing to earn money working construction), and eventually released his debut full-length, Heaven Depends. "Poughkeepsie" is lifted from that album.
Now, I don't know about you, but to me, that number has a very early-Avett Brothers feel; not like that's a bad thing. All said, I think we're witnessing rapid evolution here. And that brings us back to why I'm looking forward to Marriage Material, which drops August 20th, courtesy of the fine folks at Team Love, a lovely little label that also release material from another criminally unknown band, The Felice Brothers.