Sinead O’Brien is a poet and songwriter, originally hailing from Limerick in Ireland, poised to take her words around the world on the back of dark post-punk missives. Following a string of cuttingly magnetic singles, O’Brien will release her first full body of work in the form of an EP coming this summer on Chess Club Records. While she’s keeping us in suspense about when that’ll drop, she has shared a song from it called “Roman Ruins”. She says:
“‘Become fixated on the change…Change must show its face on mine. I am here calling it, needing it. I will not wait any more’. This was written in a notebook a few days before ‘Roman Ruins’… Written while living in the mansion with fifty people in Hampstead; a sudden realisation occurred. It allowed me to see in the brutal light of day. The illusion was collapsed. Exploded. Statues, monuments, clay and ancient structures emerged… A hidden city. The city wants to stay hidden. This is the blind spot… All four of my bedroom walls faced a different room or hallway. It was set up like a boxing ring. I could hear multiple narratives, coming from all directions even in my sleep. There were ‘episodes’ reeling in my mind through the night and into morning. The relentless sounds, conversations. Images from the lyrics are also heard in the musical arrangement.”
Even in just that quote you get a window into the critical and colourful mind that O’Brien possesses, and “Roman Ruins” is perhaps the most stark and compelling display of it yet. In the vain of Patti Smith, she commands a galloping and sharp post punk sound with her forceful voice, reeling off a series of vivid images, each giving us a new angle on her uniquely complex mind. “Why do you feel so shocked when I feel so immune to it?” she asks towards the end, beautifully disaffected and pulling you into yet another listen to “Roman Ruins” to see if you can get further inside her inscrutable persona.