Our Krypton Son’s latest album Modern Ruins is the third full-length release from the Derry based singer-songwriter. The moniker of Chris McConaghy, Modern Ruins follows on from his NI Music Prize nominated album ‘Flea’s and Diamonds’ released in 2017. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Ryan Vail, throughout the nine tracks we are taken on a journey of sprawling soundscapes and alluring verse.
Opening with the pensive echoes of ‘Arbor Bird’, the stirring beauty and sweeping strings of the track help to set the tone for the rest album. Inspired by a line in John Berger’s ‘Confabulations’ the song deals with the effects of a stroke on a close family member. Released earlier this summer, ‘White Sun’, the album’s lead single is a compelling mix of folk ramblings and modern electro. A hypnotically engaging song, the addition of synth sounds from Vail help to enhance the ambient mood of this track.
Moving effortlessly from one song to the next, ‘Death Keeps Me Awake at Night’ is a gorgeously mournful and meditative track. There is an astounding depth of honesty at the core of McConaghy’s words no matter the subject. With an evocative track title ‘The Boy with the Cauliflower Ear’ shifts and changes in feeling as a more expansive sound and instrumentation is introduced.
Creating a collection of moments that are both transient and enduring there is a refreshing consistency with each Our Krypton Son’s songs that come from his strikingly personal lyrics. The pulsing beat through ‘Bloodletting’ helps to keep McConaghy’s vocals smooth and steady. Closing the album with the beautifully intricate ‘I’m a Field in Winter’ the track builds intensely towards the end before fading out with a delicately sombre piano and sits perfectly at the end of this record.
Along with Ryan Vail the pair have worked seamlessly together to create a remarkable album of exceptional arrangements. Through the duration of the album we hear how both artists have come together to create a body of work that sees them move into fresh realms of their own individual sounds. McConaghy’s ability to weave intricate pieces of music with imaginative and thoughtful lyrics helps to confirm his status as one of Ireland’s best kept songwriting secrets.