Mark Joseph is a Dublin singer-songwriter playing a blend of folk and traditional music. With a strong social and political lyrical sway, Mark covers such topics as addiction and the introduction of the water charges on his new EP ‘Theory’.
Opener ‘The Truth’ is a cautionary tale of drug use in our capital. A fast-paced reggae-tinged song, its organ melody over acoustic strumming is catchy and enjoyable. Lyrically, despite the dark topic being explored, this song is a touch too corny for my liking. Lines like ‘If you’re messing with drugs, you’re messing with your life’ unfortunately come across like an old government warning and perhaps show a lack of specific knowledge of the topic being explored. I couldn’t help but make the contrast between this song and Neil Young’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’, a poignant tale of friends lost to heroin, and here Mark Joseph comes up lacking
On ‘Adam’ Mark addresses his son as a proud and loving father. Remembering his son’s birth and looking to the future, it’s a very nice gesture and will doubtlessly be treasured in years to come. It has a pretty fingerpicked chord sequence with an electric guitar solo, and calls to mind the solo work of Eric Clapton.
‘Water Charge’ is a song of protest against the government’s introduction of domestic water charges. Playing a modern take on rebel music, Mark is passionate on the topic and speaks as an Irishman proud of the thousands taking to the streets to demonstrate against the controversial measure. Lyrically again this song sadly falls into the corny category. It is a song you must feel will age badly, and one which flies dangerously close to the novelty song genre. While I agree with his sentiments, it is a difficult task to write a song of this nature which won’t date poorly and unfortunately I don’t feel Mark has achieved this here.
The EP’s closing track ‘You Where’ is the highlight for me. With a vocal style akin to folk legend Nick Drake, it’s a dark song telling of heartbreak and a relationship where nothing was ever as it had seemed to be.
Mark Joseph has some good ideas on this EP and some quality musicianship. On future releases I feel he could carve out an interesting sound and provoke thought and discussion with his lyrics. However there was a lot on show here which I felt was sub-par and dated, something I hope he does improve upon.