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Having established herself as one of Ireland’s finest young songwriters with her debut EP Hollowed Out Sea, Ailbhe Reddy finally makes her highly anticipated return after four years with her debut full-length release Personal History.
A contemplative and carefully considered album, Personal History draws inspiration from Reddy’s studies in psychotherapy. Its warts-and-all lyricism gently explores the modern world, delving into all its wonders, woes, and bewilderment, guided by Reddy as she comes of age. More than this, she is also coming to terms with her role as a young, queer artist in her corner of the world.
Fans of SOAK and Pillow Queens should take note, but Reddy is an entity unto herself, with a voice as singular as her story. While her brogue is unmistakable, her indie-rock sound is international airwave ready and as vintage as it is contemporary.
Personal History is a modest document. The production from Tommy McLaughlin and Erland Cooper is flawless, but the raw, simplistic instrumentation and song arrangement serve to highlight Reddy’s erudite vocals. Her lyrics include musings on social media (‘Looking Happy’) and social isolation and alienation brought about by travelling (‘Time Difference’). Closing track ‘Self-Improvement’ provides an ample finish, climbing from acoustic lamentations to an anthemic refrain.
A solid first outing, Personal History is a significant moment in Reddy’s rise to prominence.