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Album Review: Tom Moriarty – Fire In The Doll’s House

3 min read

When I was first handed Tom Moriarty’s record Fire In The Doll’s House I was slightly skeptical about it. I had recently taken my opinion out on his debut single, Smile If You Wanna Get High, and that opinion wasn’t one filled with enthusiasm or any form of eagerness to hear the musicians work further than that track. I’m glad I did however as the new record proves to be the polar opposite of the very misleading lead single.

TomMoriartyFireInTheDollsHouseProduced by Ian Grimble (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford and Sons, Manic Street Preachers), Fire In The Doll’s House is Moriarty’s debut record and what a record it is. Overflowing with country, blues and rock influences the album is a superb introduction to the promising career of one of musics next rising stars.

Opening number Fire In The Doll’s House and the following smooth crooner Dance With Me are immediate standouts on the record. After only the first listen to each you can hear Moriarty’s pure conviction through each tracks instrumentation and the rough edged vocals of the singer, though still a questionable attribute to his work in my opinion. Saying this on Dance With Me the coarse textures that the singer uses throughout the track make it a fantastic and vulnerable addition to the album.

The albums lead single, Smile If You Wanna Get High, is not the best work that Moriarty is capable of and I stand by my earlier opinion of the track being one that doesn’t showcase Moriarty as the next big thing in singer/songwriter talent in the slightest. The song does no justice to Moriarty with the other tracks that are within this collection and although the bluesy tones set the track aside from the rest, so does the aggravating and unappealing nature of the song. It ends up being a very unfitting and unflattering inclusion on Fire In The Doll’s House and not a true representation of Moriarty’s abilities.

The following chanty Don’t Ask Why is a gorgeous addition to the album with some charming and whispery harmonies that compliment Moriarty’s voice as it sits within a background full of banjo’s, guitars and the sturdy beating of a drum.

Some intricate guitar picking gives us another harmonized beauty in the form of Where Are You Now while further down the track-listing Sundancer offers us a sentimental slice of balladry.

As well as the fantastic instrumentation that makes up the records duration it is also the harmonies that Moriarty has enlisted on the majority of its contents that makes Fire In The Doll’s House such a superb listen. This is probably most evident on Sundancer as Moriarty’s vocals loop perfectly around and sit confidently alongside his backing singer, Alice Shaw’s, beautiful vocals.

The record is a thorough introduction to the work of Tom Moriarty but there is still a flaw here. Despite all of the highs within the record I still can’t quite get past the thought of a South Park character singing the songs that we are offered on the album. Moriarty’s voice is not the best. His talents clearly lay within the instrumentation of the record which is superbly built and delivered with a genuine passion and feeling.

Fire In The Doll’s House was a surprising listen for me. I have learned many times not to judge a book by its cover and although I was pushed away by the thought of a full length record by Moriarty because of the appalling lead single, Smile If You Wanna Get High, I can safely say that I’m glad it didn’t deter me from taking this one on because I was pleasantly surprised.

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