After years spent in a few dysfunctional or dead-end bands around Dublin, Irish songwriter Paddy Hanna decided to strike out on his own in 2014. His solo debut, that year’s Leafy Stiletto, laid the groundwork for him establishing his own name. Abandoning of-the-moment indie trends that had pigeonholed his past projects, Hanna crafted a charmingly eccentric brand of ’60s and ’70s-indebted troubadour-rock that garnered him praise in his home country and elsewhere in Europe, marking him as one of the most promising young songwriters in Ireland.
In February, Hanna will return with his sophomore effort, Frankly I Mutate. It’s his first collection of new music since a transitional series of singles in 2015. Picking up where those had left off, Hanna partnered with producer Daniel Fox (who also plays bass in Girl Band, a Stereogum Band To Watch in 2015). Together, they accentuated Hanna’s new tracks with oddball pop elements indebted to the songbooks of Scott Walker and Phil Spector. Across the album, there’s a freewheeling and raw theatricality, rollicking songs built for listless walks around Dublin’s aged streets or summer drives.
Hanna already gave us a preview of Frankly I Mutate earlier this year through the giddily and sneakily infectious “Bad Boys.” Now he’s back with another, a similarly catchy and uptempo cut called “Mario Lanza.” Named for the Italian-American singer, it’s actually a song inspired by Hanna’s father having a near-brush with death. And though the end result might sound more pleasant than that premise would suggest, it has a propulsion rooted in the desperation of that moment. It sounds a bit like the Walkmen if the Walkmen were really into the Waterboys. Check it out below.
Frankly I Mutate is out 2/16 via Strange Brew Records.