The voices of Kevin May and Mick Lynch are still in top form, but the lyrics and arrangements seem to be on auto-pilot.
Dublin folk duo the Guggenheim Grotto has grown in popularity during the past few years as a result of its songs being attached to American network television shows and featured on a Starbucks sampler. While mainstream exposure has been good for the band’s career, the music itself seems to have undergone a homogenization that removes some of its unique character. On new album The Universe Is Laughing, the voices of Kevin May and Mick Lynch are still in top form, but the lyrics and arrangements seem to be on auto-pilot much of the time. The verses of “Trust Me I’m a Thief” are made up almost entirely of clichés, and the music is distractingly similar to Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”. Much more interesting are “Wings and Feathers” and “Spiegel Song”, which share a Rufus Wainwright quality and are the two most memorable songs on the album. On their next outing, May and Lynch would benefit from combining their solid voices with more adventurous musical textures.