This Friday, October 16, Irish crooner and songwriter Paddy Hanna will release his new album The Hill. It’s a record that he describes as “an internal musical about how the past and the present exist at the same time in our minds. It deals with the struggles of mental health, the sometimes difficult search for happiness and the moral conflict of growing up in Catholic Ireland” – which gives you an idea of the thematic resonance of the record.
But what that quote obscures is the fact that The Hill is actually a lot of fun; full of sardonic humour and campy capers into many different genres. The fact that he can count Burt Bacharach as a fan, while also recording with noise merchants Girl Band’s rhythm section – Adam Faulkner drumming and Daniel Fox on double bass and production duties – gives an idea of the breadth of sound and style on The Hill.
If you need any more idea of what else to expect on his new record, Paddy has kindly selected six albums that played an influence on its creation – and they’re quite diverse and unexpected. But, ahead of that, enjoy his excellent song and video “Sinatra” – one of the many highlights from The Hill.
Riz Ortolani – Cannibal Holocaust OST
[Lucertola Media; 1980]
You could draw a comparison between Riz Ortolani’s Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack and Ennio Morricone’s work on The Thing; both found seasoned composers dipping their toes into murky synth waters with equally claustrophobic effect. Cannibal Holocaust, however, is a far more varied affair, particularly with its theme tune, which blends strings and synthesisers to create something unsettlingly beautiful. Without a doubt, this soundtrack was a main influence on my new album The Hill.
Frank Sinatra – Watertown
The album that sank Sinatra’s career. Turns out no one wanted to hear Ol’ Blue Eyes singing songs about heartbreak in small-town America back in 1970, but it has aged like fine Spanish leather. Sinatra’s voice sounds worn out and aged, bereft of his Vegas pizazz, it’s as though he needed to make this record but the world wasn’t interested in his vulnerability, which is rather sad when you think about it.
Ennio Morricone – Exorcist II: The Heretic
[Warner Bros.; 1977]
Don’t waste your time watching Exorcist II: The Heretic – it’s bollox.
The soundtrack, however, is not.
Penguin Café Orchestra – Music From The Penguin Café
I would prescribe this record to any musician who takes themselves too seriously. I can’t quite tell if the Penguin Café Orchestra are top class musicians recording while pissed off their skulls or chancers picking up random instruments and having a go. Either way, it’s a wild and beautiful ride.
Keel Her – Keel Her
[Critical Heights; 2014]
My first ever UK solo gig was a support slot with Keel Her in London – what a lucky duck I was!
Keel Her is one of my favourite lo-fi records, or just records in general.
Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie
[Rough Trade; 2015]
I tried to avoid blowing smoke up Girl Band’s ass for this list, I tried ever so hard, yet here we are. Their influence on modern guitar music is undeniable, their music timeless in its awesomeness. I also think they don’t they get enough credit for their understanding of melody. In my opinion, the best noise acts have a pop sensibility; you can’t create such compelling noise without having an ear for a good hook.
Also I know for a fact that they’re all big ABBA fans, so stew on that.