The award-winning singer-songwriter from Aghagallon in County Antrim, Ireland may be decorated at home by the Northern Ireland Music Prize (for his 2016 album ‘Let Bad In’) and might have totted up over 80 million streams on Spotify during his five year solo career, but it’s the unrivalled knack he has for a poetic heart-stopping lyric that’s set to earn him wider recognition as a treasured singer-songwriter.
His forthcoming third album ‘Sweet Decay’ is a collection of strummed acoustic fragility that’s as comforting as it is at times devastating. Beyond the classic melodies, however, it’s the storytelling that sets him apart, one that can be as brutal as Angel Olsen and as delicate as Neil Young. Whether exposing his most vulnerable mental health battles on ‘Beast At My Door’ or carving a romance novella into a mere few verses on ‘Two Days In Savannah’, Lavery explores the human condition across a myriad of escapist themes on ‘Sweet Decay’.
When Lavery first set out to make ‘Sweet Decay’ it was the lyrics that were his main focus. He’s spent the past five years developing his earthen, folk-y sound, but in terms of words it was important that he didn’t limit or curtail his creativity by trying to force one particular narrative. For Lavery, this is a body of work representing the point he’s currently at in his life. It was a long recording process – over a year – spliced between tours. After getting off the road, he’d head into Camden Studios in Dublin and put down his ideas. The songs are full of questions, but don’t often offer many answers. It’s open-ended. You can hear a man struggling with personal growth.