Ailbhe Reddy’s second full-length album is both a departure and a return.
She is angry. She is punk. She is a mess. And yet, she is gentle. She is indie folk. She is watching the morning light drift across the body of a sleeping lover.
Endless Affair opens with the singer’s voice alone. The album is shaded; textured. There is a youthful exuberance to ‘A Mess’ that belies the story of the song; someone telling you that it’s time to cop on, grow up, move on. The shitshow has to end somewhere. There is a reluctance in the first half of the album, to do any growing up.
There’s a certain beauty in the chaos after all, when everything is still moving and the dust has yet to settle. The languid delivery on songs like ‘Damage’ reminiscent of Alex Turner’s crooning on earlier Arctic Monkeys albums, and the youthful disarray they have come to represent. It also contains echoes of James Vincent McMorrow and Lisa Hannigan.
Things take a more melancholy turn on ‘Last to Leave’. The final lines of this track find the speaker/singer repeating “and another one/and another one”. It is then, with the track to follow, ‘Shoulder Blades’, that the real feeling comes in. We’re adults now, watching young people break the rules from the window of our house. The same window that illuminates the singer’s significant other. Reddy also released a gorgeous version of this song featuring the Theodora Byrne choir on the ‘Shoulder Blades’ single.
On ‘I’m Losing, You’re Winning’, the battle continues. This song carries a distinct early-2000s New York indie rock sound, the singer’s voice swelling and breaking against the rhythm of the guitar as the room spins around her.
‘Pray For Me’ brings another change of pace. The song is a lament, an ode to another time, and was written after the singer lost her grandmother. Here, she sits and listens to stories of a bygone Dublin, hanging onto each and every word.
The album stays true to its name, ending this affair at another beginning with the optimistic and plucky ‘Motherhood’. Reddy paints a delicate watercolour of the relationship between mother and daughter, one feeding the other as she sings “I am a tributary/you are the sea.”
The bright, folky melody peels back to Reddy’s voice and with that, Endless Affair ends as it began.