This week’s Band of the Week is none other than Blogcritic’s very own Aaron McMullan. Aaron has one of those distinctive personalities; you’re not quite sure if he is a brilliantly clever artist – in which case you may be standing in the presence of future greatness – or if he is completely and utterly off his nut and just covers it well. When asked what his musical influences are he will tell you; Babyshambles, Shane MacGowan (The Pogues), Billy Bragg, his beloved Bright Eyes, and the Bible.
Aaron is a multitalented young lad. Not only does he put out his wildly successful net records (for free) but he is also an award winning film maker – if you haven’t yet seen Aaron’s beautiful, touching, hilarious film Cliddyplomp I suggest that you do so immediately – and has his own, highly-infrequent but dangerously funny podcast with a loyal, cult like following. I could go on forever about his multitude of ramblings here on Blogcritics.org. And he is currently writing from his home in the deepest, darkest Northern Irish county side, the "'great American novel." The man oozes talent – it’s very messy but he has a bucket.
Aaron’s deep Johnny Cash-esque voice is subtly passionate in its soft, genteel melancholy. It smolders with deep regret and unrequited lust. He may not have a voice that would traditionally be called good but like many of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time – Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, and David Byrne – Aaron’s voice resonates with the dull ache of a life hard lived and deeply felt.
All five of Aaron’s net records are currently available and they are Stuff I did, Songs From The Back Room, 120 Removed, 75mg and his newest, released just a few weeks ago 196 Or So…. And although they are all glorious in their own right, I am going to run over a couple of my favourite songs from just 75mg and his latest 196 Or So…
“Black and Blue” from 75mg is bluesy roots rock song with an addictive riff. The lyrics harken to days when homeless people were called hobos and they rode the rails in boxcars. And like all of Aaron’s songs the lyrics are poetic and full of dark, beautiful imagery.
“Go Fuck Yourself” is easily my favourite song. It tells the humorous tale of a guy trying to pull (get laid) at the end of the night. And with lyrics like “And by the time the record’s changed she’s brought her drink over beside me/ Says ‘I like the way you dig the way I dance… If I was sober, mind, you wouldn’t have a chance’”. Aaron really manages to capture that bitter-sweet moment of victory in the embrace of defeat.
“Oh To Tremble…”, from 196 Or So… is a poetic, melancholy tune about a man’s inability to convey to the woman he loves just how much he does. Even such a verbose man as Aaron can sometimes be overwhelmed with love.
Even when writing love songs Aaron can’t help but bring a tear to the eye of the most staid and hard-hearted person. “In A Dream” is no exception to this. This moody, bewitching, ode to a relationship in the fullest blush of love is both touching and lustful.