A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery by David Keenan [7/10]

A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery,” the debut album of an oh-so-Irish elfin bard, inherits a long lineage of wordy, swooping, fiddle-led music, from perhaps even Van Morrison, certainly through Christy Moore, and especially Luka Bloom. A triumph of atmospheric wordiness, relentlessly eccentric, it often seems to substitute variations of instrumentation and rhythm for melodic variety, but over the course of “Bravery,” the listener (at least this one) sinks into the magic of modern Irish folk-rock. Highlights include the name-dropping “James Dean,” the fevered call to action of “The Healing,” and the long, rambling, feverish “Origin of the World.” Mark my words, David Keenan is one to watch out for.

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