It’s almost 20 years exactly since Jeff Buckley released his seminal debut album, ‘Grace’. It is one of the great tragedies in the history of music that he was swept away to his death by the Mississippi river a mere 3 years later, before he’d finished the follow-up album, ‘My Sweetheart, The Drunk’. Ever since his death, those of us, myself included, who felt that Buckley’s music was a beacon in the darkness, have scoured the horizon in the hope that another beacon would be appear.
Why do I mention this? Well, it could just be that while I scoured that horizon that there is one such beacon here in Northern Ireland, right under my (not inconsiderable) nose. His New Atlas (Eoghan O’Hagan) is not new to me, I reviewed his debut single ‘Lost & Found’ and the follow-up, ‘Blood’ and was mightily impressed by both. Both showed tremendous promise and self-confidence and had me filing him away as ‘one to look out for’. But this remarkable young man did not need years to develop, he isn’t ‘one for the future’ – he is the full package already. ‘His Young’ proves that without a shadow of a doubt. Two listens and I was sure.
While in no way a carbon copy of Jeff Buckley in terms of song-style as such, the maturity, the innate poise he shows, the way he draws you into his songs, the feeling you get that this lad knows exactly who and what he is in unshakable terms, reminds me so much of how Buckley was described in a recent Radio 2 documentary about his life. Before Buckley was signed and recorded ‘Grace’ he was already a veteran of hundreds of gigs in all manner of places and O’Hagan has a similar background already, having played a staggering amount of times all over the U.K. for an 18 year old.
This is not ‘just’ another singer-songwriter. This lad has the mystique, the sense of atmosphere, the poise, the imagination, the ideas, the ability. His performance in the equally captivating video (by Maverick Renegade Productions) speaks to me of a total performer. He is one of those artists that makes you genuinely believe some people are just ‘special’. No matter how much lucky-to-be-there dross there is in the charts, you have to believe that some people are just too good to be ignored. I believe His New Atlas is one of those acts that is ‘too good to be ignored’. There is no justice in the world of music, certainly none you can rely on, but His New Atlas doesn’t need luck or justice. He just needs your ears.
‘His Young’ is available right now!