Deirdre - ‘EP’ (EP)
A high percentage of singer songwriters seem to perform now under a ‘nom de plume’, which does intrigue me. Some have obvious Nordic connotations such as ‘Trees Up North’, whilst Danish multi-instrumentalist Joakim M. Johnsen has headed slightly offbeat, by naming himself after the tragic Irish heroine Deirdre - Deirdre of the Sorrows as she’s often known, and a character who he felt he could identify with.
I rather like that connection, so much so that I’m resisting the temptation to make any Coronation Street references. Apart from this one obviously.
Anyway my attempts to independently research Joakim Johnsen didn’t result in direct references to other bands, but he decided to set up a solo project a few years back and the result is a personal and intimate set of tracks as Deirdre, entirely performed by himself apart from some support on drums. Clearly even feeling able to release tracks took some doing, a process he describes as ‘weird sharing with anyone’, but the result is an absorbing fuzzy lo-fi release which somewhat inevitably doesn’t have a ‘hit’ track, but which I’ve loved listening to over the last week.
Lead single ‘Sinking’ is a good example, laid back and easy paced, with a gentle melodic style that somehow fits in with the distorted and deliberately rough sounding guitars – a sound that not everyone will love, but I really identify with. The lyrics can be clearly understood too, thoughtful and always spoken purely from the heart - there’s no attempt to hide anything.
The musical reference points are pretty clear here, bands such as Dinosaur Jnr and Codeine clearly influence that guitar sound and he also mentions the likes of Car Seat Headrest. But I’ll throw in a couple of other Nordic comparisons, because such a personal lo-fi release reminds me of the Rami Vierula / 23:23 trilogy of albums, whilst from the Danish underground music scene there’s probably more in comparison with bands such as Swash and even Baby in Vain, whom we also featured recently.
Elsewhere on the EP I particularly recommend ‘Wrap my Head Around’, but actually it’s an EP that deserves to be heard in its entirety. Deirdre has a thoughtful, expressive style, I love the ‘dirty’ guitar sound, and his music has far more character than many of the ‘industry’ releases that get churned out. He’ll always be welcomed in NMR.
He can be found on Bandcamp. Can’t see any social media pages or gigs lined up in the current circumstances. Not even in Weatherfield.