Bailer’s journey began back in 2001 when they formed in Dublin. Fast-track through numerous changes in line-ups and 2015 brings the release of their new album ‘Hearts and Lies’. I’m going to dive straight in and be brutally honest in saying that this is one album I wouldn’t ever listen to again. I couldn’t even make it to the end of each track. As someone who always sets out with a positive attitude when reviewing albums, I hope to like as many artists as possible and bulk up my music library. However, in this instance it was definitely not the case.
Even on first listen of the tracks everything is so disconnected. It’s not so much that they’re bad at what they do it’s just that it’s not working together. For a start the female vocalist could perhaps sound great on her own but her vocals are so flat and of a shaky nature at points that they stick out like a sore thumb above each track. The listener connection to the lyrics also appears to be non-existent. There’s no sense of emotion and no real indication that the songs have any meaning to them. Of course not all songs will have a connection factor with everyone but they should at least make you feel something; happy, sad, or even the presence of the little arm hairs that stand up when you really love it.
I do however think the tracks have steady intros and nice instrumentals, demonstrated in ‘King and the Queen’ which has a nice drum beat and electro-chords throughout. ‘If You Want To’ also has a musical arrangement that catches my attention, but again the style doesn’t seem to match the vocals or lyrical offerings. From an overall music-fan point of view I’m generally more accustomed to hearing male gravelly vocals joining such electro-guitar loops, however that’s not to suggest in any way that I’m belittling the talents of Caitriona McGuinness. It simply just comes down to the unfortunate fact that these songs don’t gel together as well as they should.
Bailer’s website states that this current project is ‘the realisation of first takes, live recording and friendship’, and I do commend their efforts in attempting to create a record in such a way. However, perhaps they need to seek some guidance in terms of song mixing to ensure they have tracks that they’re not only proud of, but that can also be appreciated by listeners and leave them wanting to hear more.
Written by Nicole Leggett