Marc O'Reilly "My Friend Marx"
Acoustic singer songwriter with something to say, following in the fine tradition
When one reads that Marc O’Reilly is currently garnering praise in his homeland of Ireland, you expect “My Friend Marx” to be a moving collection of jigs and reels with perhaps an errant tin whistle thrown in for good measure. But this could not be farther from the truth.
Nor is this a highly political record, as the title might suggest. In fact the title track seems to refer to the musings of a bar room raconteur that O’Reilly met on his travels.
In “My Friend Marx” you have a man who is following in the fine tradition of acoustic finger picking singer songwriters. One can’t help but liken O’Reilly’s acoustic performances to John Martyn or Bert Jansch and he has a husky vocal styling that is reminiscent of pop chart supremo, James Morrison. However, to liken O’Reilly to such artists, whether welcomed or not, misses the point that this singer songwriter has an identity of his own and he seems to have much to say. The song selection on the album is wide ranging and deals with broken relationships and heartache ('Twenty Minutes for Two Years'), to story songs about good ole Kentucky boys on the run ('Tell Old Joe').
However, O’Reilly comes into his own when writing more political or socially aware material. 'Lord of War' is a prime example, analysing the Iraq conflict and taking another shot at former President Bush. One cannot finish this review without giving a brief nod to the album artwork, which is arresting to say the least; a bright yellow background filled with two simply designed robots. It’s not what you expect but then perhaps O’Reilly is just that kind of artist.