"Songs of Love so Cruel" is the second release of Ultan's solo recordings. These collection of songs is a fine step forward from his 2009's début "Bless Your Heart".
The album opens with the lively "In The Mad". A breezy, pop tune. The sense of warm, harmonious melodies continue with Dylanesque "The Lumberjack, You and Me" and the first single off the album "Lonely Avenues". In contrast to these numbers, songs like "Eternally" and the evocative "Bristlecone Pines" offer a more meditative interpretation of the theme of love.
While in the process of making of this album, Ultan was approached to work on the soundtrack for the film "Song For Amy". The songs he recorded for the soundtrack also which, ultimately featured on the album too. One of these is the album closer "When I Fall In Love With You". A song that slowly builds with graceful backing vocals, rolling snare drum and mandolin. It's easy to imagine as the triumphant closing track in a indie rom-com.
One of the most impressive songs on the album is the duet with Sabrina Danin. Titled "The River Flows and The Woods Creep", the melody is a wonderful haunting air. With a uplifting chorus embedded with strings after the gentle flow of the verses, the song is appealing slice of americana.
An album with a very descriptive title, "Songs of Love so Cruel" does exactly what is says on the tin. Overall this album is a both an enjoyable and affecting experience. Reminiscent of Ron Sexsmith in many ways, the words and melodies feel carefully constructed and resulting ten tracks testify to this process being a relishable experience. You can purchase the album digitally through iTunes or physically through his website.
The good news is that if you like the sound of Ultan's music, he is partaking in a short tour this December. You can catch him at Chancery Lane Theatre in Dublin on Friday 20th December, in Co. Down at the Dr Hillyards Music Club, Castlewellan on Saturday (21st) and his home town of Loughrea at the The Hungry Bookworm on Sunday (22nd) where the gig ticket includes dinner as well. A nice way to being the festive period. For more information on Ultan's goings on, check out UltanConlon.com and he has the Facebook too.