Praise for “Overhead the Stars”:
The Blues Report – Sleepless Street Review
When a reviewer has the words “one of the worst albums to review”, it can tend to peak your curiosity concerning the album in question. Such was how I got introduced to “Sleepless Street”, the Sophomore release by an Irish singer-songwriter by the name of Peter Doran.
Peter Doran started his love of music at the young age of 11, encouraged in part from the fact that his family, immediate or otherwise, had already been bitten by the music bug. For a few year, shredding on the old guitar was his complete passion, but thankfully for us something changed where he became more interested in the essence of music then the speed it was delivered in. In 2006, critical acclaim came knocking on his door with the release of his Debut Album, “Wood”, which was referred to as “a rich collection of startlingly mature songs”. In fact one of the leading music publications even heralded it as ““an admirable debut that should open doors and minds.”.
Now with the release of “Sleepless Street”, I was curious if Peter Doran was able to shake off the monkey on many Artists backs, referred to as the Sophomore Jinx. Well I must say it did not take long to figure out that their indeed was no worry about a Sophomore Jinx here, in fact the only worry about this Album was all the other competition out there, that must have been shaking their heads wondering how Doran could once again come up with such an engaging, relevant, and poetically beautiful work of art.
“Sleepless Street”, is an album that does not need to be dissected, song by song in order to figure out whether the end result is of merit. One need only listen to it, song by song, to see it’s importance and how it soars above todays to much humdrum bubble gum world of music. It is an Album that does not rely on the practice of fancy hooks to draw you in, as its merit lays in each line of each verse of each song, creating a gentle cohesiveness of structure similar to a well written novel.
“Sleepless Street” is quite seriously, one of those pieces of artistic integrity that will stand up to the test of time and have many talking about it in much more meaningful terms than can be expressed by how big of a box office hit it might or might not be. It comes to us with texture and leaves us with substance, something many artists out there today could learn from.
As for that reviewer who said “Sleepless Street” was “one of the worst albums to review”, he was absolutely right as this is an Album you would rather be listening to then reviewing.
As far as the Genre of Folk Music is concerned I highly doubt that any other offering this year can hold a candle to “Sleepless Street”. It is an Album I Highly Recommend…
Review By John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
nbt independent music – Sleepless Street Review
We are welcomed into this world with an earthy jolt of fierce blues. The ‚‘Hunter’s Sketches‘are frantic even nervous, the seductive unease as the beautiful breakdown approaches.
Then the calm, a vision of the serene holy that can be found in the ordinary, if you have soul for it, and this wistful regret (oh how memories shine different now) envelops the listener.
But don’t dare get used to the intimate only, the next song strives for epic, a sort of personal adventure set against a vast landscape Conor Oberst does so very well layered subtle upon a heartbreaking melody that once heard is never lost. ‘Eternity’, is exactly the right name for this.
He constructs a gentle swing, a love song simply (complicated), about the strength of love, then old fashioned piano ballad, with a skill an equal to those old Carpenters’ tracks composed by Paul Williams. Note here must be made of the soulful minimal production by Filippo Gaetani, never overusing orchestration, always adding just the right touch of drama and emotion.
To those who often cry out, ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ when whining about how good the folk pop song was back in the day, just listen to ‘The Composer’ or indeed, any of these tracks, these are creations that will be equally at home nestled in the mainstream charts, or that romantic couples private playlist.
But if I have given the impression that this is gloss, forgive me, because there is a wounded rawness at the heart of this, a frazzled moody Phil Ochs ghost wandering the chords and the choruses. It’s just that Doran doesn’t need to be strident to get his thoughts across, his song writing is sincere and pure.
Leaving the very best till last, the title track, the love letter to a difficult child woman, the allure of the leaving the sane path, the way some people cannot be touched, even when we so wish to, cause they thrive in their difference. This song haunts and touches and completes a tantalizing set.
Peter Doran – Sleepless Street Review
Sophomore albums are a bit of a crunch point for everyone involved. Will it live up to the first? Will it succeed? Will it falter, and we can now write them off as yet another one album wonder? It’s all a little overwhelming for a lot of artists, and the sophomore slump can usually be attributed to the fact that they’ve spent much more time writing and perfecting the first record than its follow up. Peter Doran released Sleepless Street, his follow up to 2006′s Wood, in physical form on September 10th.
Firstly, just looking at the album, Pop Culture Monster must note the wonderful album art throughout. The hand-drawn cartoons are absolutely brilliant and give a real sense of what the album is about.
The opener Hunter’s Sketches kicks off the album with a strident, rock inspired, pumping track which doesn’t so much set the tone as it’s followed by the more mellow, Mic Christopher sounding Sacred Place which is quite radio ready.
The track Pathways could be a David Gray circa White Ladder era track, and is one of the more lyrically arresting of the whole album. The guitar riff is catchy and the more mellowed use of the cello works to its advantage. If this isn’t a single, Pop Culture Monster will eat his own paw.
When You Can is a beautiful lullaby. It has an air of a Christine McVie penned tune about it. A twinkling piano melody, salient cello accompaniment, reserved emotion filled vocals and beautiful lyrics all contribute to a song that, although won’t transfer outside an album, really stands out for Pop Culture Monster.
Twisted Freak harnesses Peter’s blues folk songwriting, and is one of the less polished tracks on the album which adds really well to the feel of the track. Even Peter’s vocals seem a little more gruff.
The title track Sleepless Street comes right at the end, and runs just over an epic 7.5 min. I thought just looking at the length of the track that it would be one of those filler tracks that you skip over because they drone on and on and… it’s anything but. It’s a stunning, harrowing ballad about a girl called Allison. It’s one of the most lyrically beautiful songs Pop Culture Monster’s heard in a while. And everyone knows, if you can keep Pop Culture Monster interested for a full 7mins, you’re on to a winner.
I can’t help but draw comparisons to Mic Christopher with this album, albeit a lot more polished. We’ve had a distinct lack of male folky singer-songrwiters that don’t suck in the last couple of years. It’s time for someone to hold the flame alight for the future, and Peter is Pop Culture Monster’s firm favourite for the distinction.
Overall this is a beautifully crafted album, with stunning instrumentation throughout which serves as a backdrop to Peter’s wonderfully emotive vocals. A highly commendable second album that will be on constant rotation on Pop Culture Monster’s iPawed.
Peter Doran – Sleepless Street
Sleepless Street is a twelve-track album by Irish singer/songwriter, Peter Doran.
When Peter contacted me regarding writing a review, I confess I had not heard of him before.
I checked out his website, thoroughly looked forward to reviewing Sleepless Street, and thought it would be simple. I was wrong. Sleepless Street is the worst album to review.
Let me reveal why Sleepless Street is the worst album I have ever reviewed…
Hunter’s Sketches kicks Sleepless Street off brilliantly. It is a great rock sound. For some reason, I was expecting something softer, so this was a pleasant surprise. I adore the chorus:
“and I am content oh yeah, to sit back and watch you hunt and from a distance gather sketches of my love”
This chorus sends a chill through me – a sign of great vocals, lyrics and music. Peter writes real and deep lyrics. There is no cheap attempt at rhyme here. When you listen to Hunter’s Sketches you will understand what I mean when I write that Peter spent time on his lyrics, he is a poet and takes us on a journey and fantasy.
Peter’s vocals are solid, with a mix of rugged and smooth, which you do not get very often. The opening line, ‘I’m living in a sketched out version of my future’ is great because I think you, like me, can relate to that. I love an artist who speaks to me.
Sacred Place is a lot softer than Hunter’s Sketches but it fits into the package. There is no sudden change that can be unwelcome. Peter displays his mix of rugged, smooth and fragile vocals in Sacred Place very well.
Yes, Peter’s beautiful lyrics have hooked me but I love words, stories and imagery, which he creates just perfectly.
“and you were leaning into shafts of sunlight, you were lit up like a real life saint, you were glowing like a holy icon in a sacred place”
Have you ever read anything so beautiful? You need to hear Peter singing these lines because it is just magical. He truly is a poet.
When he ends Sacred Place, there is an air of sadness in his voice. He sounds like he is close to tears. It is almost like regret, as if he is remembering a time when he was in love. I actually felt a little sad and fell deep into thought about my own past love that I lost. The music is just perfect for setting that mood. Peter is a natural artist.
A simply perfect song and you must listen to it.
Eternity is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever had the pleasure to hear. Peter’s voice hits the mark yet again. His voice is certainly designed for this type of song. That rugged, smooth and fragile air of sadness is back and it is exquisite. Yes, Eternity sent many chills over me. The lyrics are just stunning. The music is so peaceful and at a gorgeous and rich pace.
Eternity is the type of song you would listen to with some candles lit, the fire keeping you warm and a nice glass of wine on a December evening when you are taking time out just to be alone and at peace. Peter’s vocals and music would add to that peace rather than spoil it.
After listening to Eternity many times, I am so relaxed I hardly know what else to write other than this song is perfection itself.
Abstract Man is very vocally dominant and is all about Peter’s voice, which is definitely a joy to hear. When the music does pick up and kick in it sits perfectly with the rugged but slightly fragile sound of Peter. Yes, I am writing the same thing as I have for the others but then Sleepless Street follows a set pattern and is a cohesive package.
Moan and Complain is a beautiful piano piece. Peter manages to make a good song using just his vocal skills and a piano. Pure and rare talent. Sleepless Street is winding down to its conclusion and I personally think that it is clever how the music represents that. I am expecting the final track to be very slow and dreamy.
Sleepless Street is the final track and brings the album to a quiet and beautiful end. Yes, it is both slow and dreamy. Peter’s voice is very fragile and soft in this track. The lyrics are everything in Sleepless Street and not to listen to every word is a crime. Peter is telling you a story and taking you on a journey with him. I fell into the world of Alison (the character from the song); I got chills over me and felt a little sad about her adventure. You will hear about nail-biters, mathematicians, monsters and wild-eyed
I cannot think of another artist who writes lyrics like Peter Doran. The spirits of those great Irish poets must be with Peter when he creates.
Sleepless Street is 7:31 long but for me that is still not long enough. I was sad to hear Sleepless Street end and to have to return to reality. Forget that, I just hit play and returned to the magical world of Peter Doran.
Worst Album to Review
Okay, so why did I state Sleepless Street is the worst album to review. Simply because when you are listening to this great musical/poetic creation the last thing you want to do is think about writing or reviewing it. All you want to do is kick back and enjoy the wonderful world that is Peter Doran’s magical creation. Several times, I found myself drifting off and forgetting that I was actually working on a review. No other album has been this tough to review.
Sleepless Street is more than just a musical creation. It is a journey, fantasy, emotion, poetry and simply superb. I have listened to many good albums but Sleepless Street is beyond that. I add few albums to my personal collection but Sleepless Street and the deep and poetic world of Peter Doran will be staying with me.
The music of Sleepless Street is so crisp, smooth and professionally created. I cannot find fault with one track and all are a joy to hear. Peter’s vocals are a great solid mix of rugged, smooth, fragile, deep and heavily emotional. Peter is clearly an artistic, emotional and deep talent. He makes every song different, exciting and a pleasure to hear. Peter feels and means every word he utters.
Peter contacted me and asked if I would review Sleepless Street, well, I am pleased and honoured that he did because this has been a pleasure for me to do. I highly recommend you checking Sleepless Street out yourself and getting your own copy. You will not be sorry you did.
In addition, with Christmas just around the corner, Sleepless Street would make the perfect present for someone you love.
“Restless in Mulingar” – Sleepless Street
Peter Doran is one of those rare species in Ireland; a singer songwriter. Yep if there’s one thing this country lacks its wistful singers wielding acoustic guitars and songs which read like diary entries.
OK so maybe there’s one or two or even a few dozen out there and quite a lot of them do suck. Mullingar’s Peter Doran has many of the usual traits we’ve come to expect from our sacred singer-songwriter; mid-tempo songs, lyrics of love and heartbreak and the always metaphorically bleak strings. Here’s the thing though; it’s actually pretty good.
Yes the lyrics can get a bit too introspective at times but still individually there are some good songs on here and taken as a whole it’s a fine piece of work.
Hunter’s Sketchs kicks the album off on a rather strident note, Doran’s voice floating over a glam rock backing track that Marc Bolan would have been happy to shake his curly head to. Sacred Place is more of the mid- tempo confessional – it even features the line “at first I must confess” – but is rescued by some fine vocals and a decent chorus.
Eternity is perhaps the highlight of the album as Doran laments that “everything gets swallowed…by this bottomless eternity” It may not be uplifting but we all like a bit of misery -or at least steely-eyed realism -every now and then. Regardless of subject matter it’s a fine song.
And that’s the point here really. We all shudder just a little when we hear the term singer-songwriter and are even more suspicous if Irish is thrown on the front but really it doesn’t matter how they are categorised as long the songs themselves are decent. It’s all we can ask as consumers really.
Sleepless Street is not without its flaws, a few of the lyrics could have done with a revision or two and Steeped In You does fall the wrong side of winsome folky for my liking but as second album’s go its got plenty of potential with his voice a mix of Damian Rice and Loudon Wainright perhaps the singer’s greatest strength.
Doran is as good an example as any that all those singer-songwriter ticks that have come to be so bloody tiresome are really the product of bad songwriters and that a good song regardless of subject matter or categorisation will always win out.
Drop-d rating: 7/10
“SLEEPLESS STREET” – (11 out of 12)
Second Album from Mullingar’s Peter Doran is an instantly likeable album of mature ballads, wonderful vocals and insightful lyrics.
I saw Peter Doran support Nick Kelly in Whelans well over a year ago and discovered his debut album ‘Wood’ relatively recently. ‘Wood’ is a very ambitious debut full of big sounds. In contrast ‘Sleepless Street’ finds Peter Doran singing delicate beautifully arranged songs accompanied by strings. The mood created by the Cello in particular within the album reminds me a lot of Damien Rice’s ‘O’.
The album kicks off with the big sound of ‘Hunter’s Sketches’ which doesn’t do much for me to be honest. The next three songs however are wonderful. In particular ‘Pathways’ which would be on regular rotation if I were the controller of music for a radio station. It’s a great song with a catchy guitar riff, background cello strings and the vocal melodies any songwriter would be proud of. ‘Pathways’ for me is the main track on the album and worth the price of the album alone!
The next song to grab my attention is the Mic Christopher sounding ‘The Composer’. It has that swagger in the song which can automatically make the body move. It’s a song about the challenge of being a composer of songs and letting them go into the world!
Even when the sound is stripped back to just Peter’s vocals and guitars the results are gripping such as in the song ‘Steeped in You’. I find it very easy to be transported through the stories in each of the songs on ‘Sleepless Street’ due to Peter’s fine vocals. To make an ultimate comparison I think Peter’s vocals are the close to David Gray’s vocals from ‘White Ladder’ era.
‘Sleepless Street’ is a quality album of intelligent songs sung by a singer with a great voice. It has upbeat rock tracks, delicate ballads, piano based tracks, strings, gripping lyrics and even concludes with an epic seven minutes plus swooning ballad which gave the album it’s title. If you’re a fan of people like Make Geary, Tom Baxter, Mic Christopher etc. then this album is right up your street!
Peter Doran – Sleepless Street [11 out of 12]
HOTPRESS REVIEW FOR WOOD
While even some of our better songwriters only shine in introspective acoustic settings, and their guitar playing is often there merely to provide an underbelly for the vocal, Mullingar-Based musician Peter Doran can vary both mood and tempo and is an ace guitar player to boot.
Although opening track “Scenic Route” does not augur well, with his Loudon Wainwright-like voice wobbling unsettlingly in a song that opens like Christy’s “Ride On”, from there on it’s uphill all the way. He’s also well served by his band too, with Johnny Owens on violin adding a plaintive touch to “Loose”. There’s a loose funkiness to the pleading “Mr Giant”, and “Filling Spaces” is a laid-back affair, it’s tasteful guitar playing setting the mood and building towards a slightly anguished conclusion. “Ten Thousand Bees” has a lazy lilting latino sway to it, and “Treasure Chest” has an irresistible rhythm to spur Doran’s vocal is at it’s most appealing. “Wood” also benefits from a moving vocal performance from Doran, with Gerard Toal’s cello adding a hint of forboding. This is an admirable debut that should open doors and minds.
-Jackie Hayden, hotpress
HOTPRESS REVIEW FOR SCENIC ROUTE
Peter Doran’s debut is in tune with traditional singer-songwriter fare. This
however, doesn’t make the Mullingar performer’s work any less impressive.
Delicate and reserved, Doran’s tender voice swells with the sparse, acoustic
driven melody. Owing a great deal to Damien Rice, there’s an impressively
warm and enchanting feel to ‘Scenic Route’. If debut album wood is half as
good we really do have much to look forward to.
-Steve Cummins, hotpress