Morgan O'Kane
Album: Pendulum
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 14

Morgan O'Kane may sound like a character from Red Dead Redemption or Jonah Hex but is a banjo virtuoso from Charlottesville, VA now based in New York, NY. The fourteen tracks on 'Pendulum' O'Kane's follow up to 2010's 'Nine Lives, does not make for easy initial listening but stick with it and it will soon become one of the essential albums in the collection of any one who cares about music with a bit of heart, a bit of soul and a bit of feeling.

There are some similarities between O'Kane and some of the bands who sit under the 'Gothica American' banner (O'Death, 16 Horsepower, Eliott Brood etc.) especially in the lyrical themes of judgement, death and fire coupled with a preaching delivery style. Having said that, the lyrics are sometimes sparse, 'Hello Soul' consists of nothing more than "Hello Soul", 'Hello and Go' is slightly more involved "hold my ride / say hello and go".

Much of the album plays like a duel between O'Kane's banjo and the fiddle of Ferd Moyse. Each tries to out play, out fast and out loud the other and neither is willing to give an inch as they rattle along at breakneck speed. The vocals are as uncompromising as the playing with as much being shouts and calls as singing. There is a touch of sweetness to the beautiful yet brief 'Go Diving' where the vocals are taken care by Domino Kirk.

This album should come with a warning; once you let it get under your skin you'll not get it out again.

John 'The jacket' Hawes