CD reviews: Ciaran McMeeken

Folk-pop meets laid-back urban cool on Ciaran McMeeken's second EP, an assured seven-track follow-up to The River.

For this one, the Arrowtown-born, Dunedin-raised, now Auckland-based singer-songwriter used Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios to put some deep, dark textures on the skeletons of tunes that clearly began on acoustic guitar.

McMeeken's delicate guitar phrasing and muscular vocals remain the prime focus, even if the slick production, big drums (producer Greg Haver was behind the kit), synth washes et al occasionally threaten to drown his initial inspiration.

That McMeeken keeps his head above the water says a lot for his growing artistry.

• Ciaran McMeeken. Screaming Man. Independent.

Four stars (out of five)

Single download: Sad/Hope
For those who like: Ed Sheeran, Tracy Chapman

- Shane Gilchrist

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