One of the strongest tracks to come out of the west of Ireland so far this year. - The Thin Air

The Thin Air

Galway’s Kieran O’Brien has been honing his style for some time now. From the atmospheric folk that defined last year’s After The Storm to the dream-pop leanings of June’s ‘Only A Dream’, the songwriter’s work to date has been explorative, sincere and endlessly refreshing.

Returning now with his second EP, Turn, the ventures into a full-band sound are becoming more sure-footed and assertive, taking as many cues from the likes of The War On Drugs and Real Estate as from stalwarts of the Americana folk tradition.

Speaking of the new EP’s thematic foundation, O’Brien said: “After The Storm reminisced heavily on the ocean and past events. These songs look ahead, towards the sky”.

With Fergal Davis lending a hand with production duties, that forward looking ideology is captured rather wonderfully. Given the producer’s previous work with the likes of Sinead O’Connor, Foals and Ben Folds this should come as no surprise. Spacious melodies pervade this EP, allowing O’Brien’s lyrical focus on reinvention and rediscovery to echo through its very core.

‘Only A Dream’ makes for an ideal opener, while the EP’s highlight is the short, sweet, acoustic number ‘Closer’.

There is a quiet, honest sound blowing across the country from the west in recent years in the form of New Pope and Eoin Dolan. Sparse, dreamy and sometimes psychedelic textures evoke those inherently hazy summer evening scenes down Galway’s Claddagh. Turn achieves something that is much the same, and comes from artist who, in a world of endless cynicism, really seems to mean it.

(Eoin Murray)


Combining elements of Folk, Indie Rock and Ambient Folk, young Irish singer-songwriter Kieran O'Brien creates a dreamy and hazy sound that is a perfect fit for fall season

(Steffi Fixemer)

YabYum Music

Oh, the sweet ambient folk of Kieran O’Brien… This Irish lad from Galway shapes out a sound that surrounds the listener in a soothing haze on his single, “Won’t You”. There is a touch of melancholy to the music on the song that pairs well with the wistful vocals. “Won’t You” is the second track from O’Brien’s EP, After the Storm, which came out just a few months back. This song is my personal favorite of the four that appear on the EP so I consider it a worthy introduction to the work of Kieran O’Brien. Check out “Won’t You” below or head here for the full EP.

(Carly Schorman)

The Thin Air

Rediscovery is a central concept when listening to the music of Kieran O’Brien. The songwriter spent four years after finishing university living in Dublin and Athlone but found himself drawn back to life closer to ocean in his home county of Galway, thus re-emersing himself in the place that had inspired his musical awakening. Reconnecting with home and the associated memories and emotions both positive and negative therein became a fuel for O’Brien to re-awaken the songwriter within him. This “un-freezing” as he describes it came to be defined by his life by the ocean and the memories of youth that awakened when he returned; the resonance of the sea informing every corner of his forthcoming debut EP After the Storm.

‘Won’t You’, the second track to be unveiled from the release, is a mesmerising slice of ambient folk that magnifies the unforgiving forces of both life and nature while simultaneously portraying one’s acceptance and embrace of them. The song, which O’Brien originally wrote nearly ten years ago, re-emerges here as a piece which drifts on its ethereality, never allowing itself to become overcome by its melancholy. Instead it is carried safely to shore by its breezy vocals and instrumentation that points to early Sigur Rós albums.

After the Storm will be released on October 26th.

(Eoin Murray)

Santa Rosa Records

"Closer" is an acoustic track off his latest album, Turn. It's a stripped down and brief minimalistic masterpiece. O'Brien's transcendental jam yearns for change, a cry for something new, a revolution. It's absolutely beautiful. So, check it.