Siobhán O’Brien | YOU CAN’T RUN OUT OF LOVE | (independent)
4 out of 5
Siobhán O’Brien wears her influences on her proverbial sleeve. Inspired by the vintage songwriters of an earlier era — Joni Mitchell in particular, but also Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez, Jackson Brown, among them — she adheres to old school designs that combine to create a meld of contemporary soft rock and plaintive folk finesse. She’s hardly twee by any means, but her songs betray more than a faint whiff of patchouli.
A fourth generation Irish musician, O’Brien made an easy connection between her Celtic roots and the obvious appeal shared in a charismatic contemporary caress. You Can’t Run Out Of Love, her third album to date, reveals hints of her old country origins, but also shows her comfort with a sound most would consider more mainstream. “I feel this record is about transitioning, it’s about acceptance, it’s about adventure, it’s about risk-taking,” she says. Even so, the majority of the songs betray the perennial appeal borne by a waifish singer shoring up her sensitivity. Yet when she kicks things into a higher gear, as in “She Hides My Picks,” “The Burger Song,” and “I Stayed Too Long,” she shows she can be a sultry chanteuse as well.
Mostly though, O’Brien maintains an even keel. Opening track “You Can’t Run Out Of Love” offers an ideal example. A sweet, appealing message flush with optimism — after all, who could disagree with the premise? — its inviting melody bodes well for what’s to follow. The haunting echoes of “Love Is the Holy Grail” and “Give Me Back the Love” share that desperate desire and affirm the fact that in addition to all else, O’Brien is an unabashed romantic. Nevertheless, the song that resonates to the greatest degree is “Mother,” the concluding track on the album which speaks to the sacrifices and dedication that most mothers hold dear.
A superb set of alluring and appealing songs and sonnets, You Can’t Run Out Of Love gives cause to believe there’s truth in the title.