Auckland-based singer songwriter Ciaran McMeeken’s debut full-length album is… a labour of love; the fruits of a worldwide journey of writing, reflection and musical collaborations during a European writing tour. Because of this – upon his return to New Zealand McMeeken was faced with the difficult task of deciding which tracks to include on this album, ensuring these tracks are the best of the best.
Having grown up in the depths of the South Island in the picturesque village of Arrowtown, when posed with the question of what he wanted to do with his life, McMeeken decided to follow his passion and turned his hand to music; a passion that is evident in his accomplished self-titled debut album. Having produced a handful of releases, beginning with his debut EP The Valley in 2014, and second EP Screaming Man in 2015, this is the first full-length release from McMeeken, and it quickly become apparent that the wait was worth it. Recorded at Auckland’s Roundhead Studios, McMeeken worked with a live band, and the results are a strong collection of twelve very polished songs that masterfully intertwine elements of rock, pop, jazz, blues, roots and soul with both ease and sophistication.
McMeeken’s voice brims with sincerity, honesty and strength. Opening track ‘My Kin’ is an upbeat roots/rock infused track that showcases not only McMeeken’s smooth vocals but also his acoustic guitar playing prowess. The second single from the album, That Feeling, was co-written in less than 20 minutes with renowned songwriter MoZilla (who has worked with the likes of pop superstars Ellie Goulding, Charlie Puth and One Direction). It’s a simple acoustic guitar and piano based track and is a smooth pop masterpiece full of romanticism while still remaining completely authentic.
Other standout tracks include ‘Al Capone’ (an upbeat swing/blues influenced track), and ‘Don’t Lie To Me’ (a beautiful blues rock ballad with a touch of r&b, which is at times reminiscent of John Mayer at his very best). It is easy to imagine this album being the perfect soundtrack for laid back summer days in the sun; an album that can be listened to time and time again and yet still remain new and fresh.