Marc Carroll - Dust of Rumour
Marc Carroll, LA based Dubliner, is a seriously talented man, he writes and sings great songs and plays all the instruments on his albums. So little wonder then that he’s never cracked the big time in an industry built upon image and hype. Dust of Rumour is his third album in 10 years and it doesn’t disappoint, giving some idea why Bob Dylan has given him the seal of approval.
The album kicks off in upbeat mode with Love Will Rule Our Hearts which may sound like it is going to be a nasty collision between Joy Division and Mariah Carey but is actually a bright, breezy Byrdsian number punctuated with some delicious reverb drenched tributes to Hank Marvin. It is a positive point of embarkation and the wet-coast vibe is continued with Now or Never which serves as a chiming tribute to the hazy days of the first summer of love. Maybe the success of Crosby, Stills & Nash and Neil Young at this year’s Glastonbury will create the right environment for a rennaisance of this style?
Not that it is all hippy reminiscing, with new single Always taking the more tried and tested ‘noughties’ singer-songwriter path. It suffers from being just too similar to a host of bland, faceless white male solo artists and, for me, doesn’t add a great deal to the album. Against My Will is the first hint that Carroll has Irish heritage as he eschews the west-coast epic tunes in favour of a more introspective, intimate celtic ballad. It is reminiscent of latter day Mark Knopfler, both men heavily influenced by both Dylan and celtic music, and this is only reinforced by The Boy Who Dreamed which is a delicate and beautiful guitar instrumental.
Talking of Dylan, What’s Left of My Heart sees Carroll apparently borrowing Bob’s gravelly vocal chords. Either that or he was smoking 20 (packs) a day when he recorded it. There’s a lot to admire here but the album lacks a sure-fire killer hook which might make people sit up and take notice. It is hard to find any fault with this album – it just needs to find a market.