Album Reviews

The Prayer Boat – Polichinelle

(Setanta) UK release date: 5 June 2000


The Prayer Boat - PolichinelleSomething of a surprise, this first mass-release effort from Ireland’s Emmett Tinley and his band. Lots of bands at this stage of their musical shelf-life immediately sound like someone else, some lack cohesiveness, many suffer from their material rather than any lack of ability to perform. None of these phrases would be appropriate descriptions for The Prayer Boat, the band that ostensibly is Emmett Tinley, songwriter, singer and guitarist.

Polichinelle is an album free from studio-added clutter which acts, as was surely meant, as a showcase for Tinley’s natural, effortless talent. The production is slick and tidy, emphasising the album’s most striking quality – Tinley’s vocal powers.

He sounds like a mix of all the good points of the voices of Mick Hucknall, Thom Yorke and Paul Young, while his acoustic guitar reminds the listener of Ani DiFranco in one of her rare quiet moods; the combination is at once soothing and spiritual.

On Polichinelle, The Prayer Boat present us with eleven beautifully-crafted tunes that simply jump into the memory and refuse to leave. If there is a weak track on this album I’ve yet to find it and, when they play live, nothing is lost from the atmospheric moodiness of the album.

If success in the music industry depends upon the dual pillars of songwriting talent and effortless performing ability then The Prayer Boat could well be a band to watch out for; this is a most promising debut.


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The Prayer Boat – Polichinelle