Damien Dempsey – Almighty Love


When Damien Dempsey first came to prominence there were plenty of high brow music critics eager to write him off. He didn’t look like a rock star and his songs were rooted firmly in the realism of suburban Dublin. He didnít exactly fit in with the fever of the Celtic Tiger. But like the boxer he is at heart, he’s still standing, singing and the Celtic Tiger is nowhere to be seen. And with his new album Almighty Love he delivers more reality through his unique, gritty musical style.

With the title track Damien opens the album with full on euphoria, declaring to the world in what almost sounds like a melodic snarl that he feels ‘Almighty Love’. While his past albums have always had a sensitive side nothing explodes on you quite like this tune. But in true Damo style the following track brings you down from the clouds and plummets you back into Donaghmede as the great man recalls lost friends on ‘Chris and Stevie’, A heartbreaking tribute with truly incredible arrangement and ends with the words, ‘Lean on me, I’m here, my love is real.’ Powerful.

With all his albums tinged with a little hip hop Damo brings 20 year old London poet/rapper Kate Tempest onto the track Born Without Hate. A reggae/funk number that deals with the harshness of the modern world and how it affects the youth whilst trying to get across the message that Damo yearns for a better world we can all achieve. Kate Tempest lays down a phenomenal rap to close the song and her future is surely bright with this skill.

Things dip a little with Bustin Outta Here before Damo goes old fashioned folk singer with the Scottish folk song Fire in the Glen which is pure story telling before we get to what must be one of Damoís best songs to date.

Canadian Geese is probably the best song on the album and is full of local references and will transport many of you back to childhood days when urban Dublin was a curious child’s playground and moves onto the urge to break out of the city walls. The arrangement is superb again, Damo’s voice is on fire and the use of orchestral strings heightens it’s impact.

After that the rest of the tracks somehow seems to fly by until the closer You’re the Cure, but like anyone who’s ever listened to a Damien Dempsey album, it all becomes more clear the more you listen to it. Definitely worth getting.

by Joe McKenna