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Cork, Ireland | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Cork, Ireland
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Electronic Folk




"Not feeling any sadness for Simon MacHale’s debut album, Let Down Those Old Defences"

Complexity is sexy. Nothing is as pleasurable as the feeling when you’ve just discovered or solved something that you’ve been thinking about for some time. This applies in the most vague ways, whether you’ve “figured out” one of your co-workers, or solved a crime, you always get that smug sense of satisfaction. I hope it isn’t too forward to say, but I find Irish songwriter Simon MacHale very complex. I’m usually pretty good at shoehorning a band’s sound into one made-up-but-understandable genre, but this time I’m truly stumped. It is too large to fit into any genre or genre-hybrid. In MacHale’s debut album, Let Down Those Old Defences, there are dashes of anti-folk and processed pop with drum machines and vocal performances that will surprise you. The lyricism is tangible, not empty and full of wispy ideas and generalizations. The best summary of the artistry demonstrated on Let Down Those Old Defences is the audiovisual experience of “If I Cannot Have You.”

“A modern take on the classic melancholy of a fantasist: sad pleasure and dolorous joy,” MacHale says of the track. Almost every time he sang the word “sadness,” it was new, both in emotional intensity and sonic ingenuity, making it one of the most interesting vocal progressions I have ever heard. The entire video was made from still images of two stuffed mice in a dollhouse, which created the perfect context for the song. The relationship is well executed, with thorough depth of the depravity of the protagonist. The painting, specifically, is a very powerful symbol. He vandalizes it as part of the destructive coping mechanism that he and the narrator share, but he doesn’t physically destroy it. Instead he paints over it, streaking black all over, but maintaining the original portrait outline. If the obsessive behavior wasn’t already evident from the lyrics, now it was front and center.

As perfectly as the video comes together, it may be surprising to know that MacHale initially was inclined to reject this concept, opting for a more singular storyline. He stressed the importance of the solitude depicted in the lyrics, but the video director, Bob Gallagher, had other ideas. Given the pre-arrangement of the dollhouse that they were using as the set, he was able to craft a story that allow the video and the song to work together successfully. “For instance the baby’s room was already totally decorated,” explained Gallagher, “so I thought placing the adults there with a notably absent baby could be powerful and dramatic.” The minor chord progressions also give the song an eerie feel, creating an expectation that something bad is going to happen, despite the happy first few scenes. After all, the first line is “I’m feeling so much sadness for you,” though it’s difficult to predict the ensuing mania.

Simon MacHales’s debut album, Let Down Those Old Defences, is out now. For more information on MacHale, visit his website, Facebook, and Twitter. - The Music Court


Simon MacHale is an Irish artist who specialises in a unique style that fuses classic folk melodies with contemporary electro-pop motifs. The Cork born singer/songwriter has enjoyed a long love affair with composing alternative music, which took him to Switzerland for half a decade of studying and performing. Now back in his homeland and following on from his 2012 Nothing But This One EP, he has been having quite a bit of success with his debut album, Let Down Those Old Defences.

Beginning with “The Beautiful Scientist”, an amiable acoustic riff is met with a pleasant melody. It’s a soft and simple opener, whose content is rather heartwarming. “Copy and Paste” is a departure afterwards, featuring an electronic beat and dire keys ahead of a solemn and stirring harmony. While it maintains the light touch of its predecessor, it switches genres from straightforward folk to full on electro-pop.

“I Remember” lands somewhere between the first two tracks stylistically. There’s an anxious feel to the whole thing as it paces frantically forward. The strings that consistently unfold in the background afford it a simultaneously sobering quality. An organ like effect follows to guide “Quiet Young Redhead” into a reserved but vivid verse, while synthetic percussion continuously builds up a sense of anticipation.

“Only a Child” comes along next with a playful instrumental introduction that precedes a characterful melody. Some innocuous chimes butt-in sporadically, helping to maintain an airy atmosphere. It all gives the piece a strong sense of intrigue and innocence. “If I Cannot Have You” is fast and forceful in its aftermath. Pounding along purposefully, it constantly skims the border of the dance genre.

Loud and passionate vocals resound across hectic instrumentation during “It’s Better to Have Loved”. When all of its elements are combined, it can be a little jarring, but there is a sense of depth to it. The mellow piano keys of “The Perfect Death” succeed it, strolling along beside a melancholy melody. This stripped down and sombre offering is extremely affecting in its simplicity.

“The Miller’s Daughter” takes off by way of a meaningful acoustic riff and vibrant vocals. At times, there seems to be hints of optimism buried amid this otherwise forlorn sounding composition. “Over the Sea to Skye” is another sedate and restrained undertaking, featuring some powerful vocals and moving strings, while “The Chill of the Eve” comes as a refreshingly relaxed entry, whose colourful execution is indeed quite chilling. The record culminates then in “As Blue Turned to Red”, as a warm and welcoming riff develops alongside a haunting harmony, bringing things to a touching end.

Simon MacHale’s work here is an intriguing blend of electronics and acoustics. He manages to successfully combine a number of contemporary genres while keeping a folk feel prevalent throughout. Its articulately sung lyrics and atmospheric nature make Let Down Those Old Defences worth sampling. You can purchase it on Bandcamp now. - Pure M Magazine

"Watch | Simon MacHale – If I Cannot Have You (feat. Annette Buckley)"

Electro-folk artist Simon MacHale has released his new music video for the song ‘If I Cannot Have You’, featuring Annette Buckley.

Directed by Bob Gallagher the video follows two mice living together in a dolls house, once again showcasing Gallagher incredible ability to convey humanistic emotions from surreal or natural visuals/narratives.

Although the characters are motionless, the directors moving camera work, subtle editing and Marie Denham’s beautiful production design (coupled with Joan Mythen’s wonderfully crafted Dolls House) all bring the story to heartbreaking life.

Scored by Simon MacHale’s emotive, yet soulful, electro-folk sound and the longing tone of ‘If I Cannot Have You’ the pairing of both the music and the visuals work together powerfully, resulting in a compelling viewing and listening experience.

Click above to watch the music video for Simon MacHale’s new single ‘If I Cannot Have You’ (feat. Annette Buckley).

Directed by Bob Gallagher
Production Design by Marie Denham.
Dolls House by Joan Mythen
Special thanks to Paula Mythen, and Daniel Butler. - The Last Mixed Tape


Still working on that hot first release.



Beautiful timeless melancholic electronic folk. SIMON uses every possible musical resource to hone their unique songs; from glitchy beats, to renaissance chord clusters, to pulsating sawtooth synths; SIMON tickles the frequencies you have been waiting to giggle with delight over.

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