In case you missed our review of “Forget About the World” in early June, Michael Heffernan first came across fellow musician Aisling Browne while working as the head engineer of Dublin’s Temple Lane Studios. Realising the similarity of their individual ambitions, they resolved to team up together. Adopting the name Cut Once, the duo took to the studio to complete a self-titled EP, which was officially unleashed on July 3rd.
The five track compilation starts as the arresting electronics of “Institution” vibrate through the air ahead of a brisk bass line that builds towards vivid vocals. A smooth and stirring verse ensues while the instrumentation grows in the background. It all eventually culminates in an invigorating exhibition of music and melodies.
“Playing with Fire” utilises a quirky collection of instrumentation to introduce a verse rife with attitude and assertion. From here, it bursts into a cutting chorus that excites between the spirited stanzas. Its arresting rhythm draws you in and maintains its hold through a biting breakdown before an exhilarating end. “Colour Blue” is a more mellow addition afterwards, brought to life by sobering piano keys and a solemn harmony. Becoming increasingly resonant as it progresses, it features vocals that pierce with their power. It’s a bracing ballad, the deeply affecting ambience of which leaves a lasting impression.
The bustling beginning of the aforementioned “Forget About the World” precedes a restrained refrain. A characterful beat gives way to some hefty bass work that continues across the chorus and into the second verse. It all reaches a reprieve later on, then bursts back to life for a fervent finale. “Coat of Armour” develops gradually but cheerfully towards a high-pitched harmony which resonates wonderfully next. Continuing to accelerate through energetic electronics and operatic vocals, it serves as a spectacularly spirited swansong.
Cut Once have delivered an extraordinary electronic endeavour that’s often dark but rarely downbeat. The synthetic instrumental elements are perfectly executed, never becoming overbearing or abrasive, while the vocals are consistently slick and melodic. It’s an outing that should find favour with a wide array of listeners.