Album of the Week: Cian Ciaran – ‘Outside In’

For nearly two decades Cian Ciaran has been brightening our lives as Super Furry Animals’ resident electronic wizard and keyboardist. Outside In sees Ciaran come to the fore with a debut solo record under his own name.

It will come as quite a surprise anyone expecting an electronica album, but Outside In is a record indebted to grandious orchestral pop of the ’60s and John Lennon’s ’70s output. The record is a mix of down-tempo orchestral ballads of beguiling beauty and that idiosyncratic Super Furry sparkle.

Centered around his piano and subtle drumbeats, it swoons and sweeps, dripping with melody and harmony, allowing his wonderful lilting croon to blossom. It is permeated too, by an air of elegant richness, comforting tranquility and a hint of melancholy.

Album opener ‘You & Me’ epitomizes the fabric of Outside In; a blend of truly beautiful textures, swooning strings, elegant sounds and whispering lyrical laments for lost ideals. It seldom deviates from it’s course say for ‘Martina Franca’, which wouldn’t be out of place on an SFA release and the album closers ‘What Will Be’ and ‘Upside Downers’. Two positively exuberant tracks, imbued with joy and filled an array of horns and strings.

Outside In is a charming album that will warm the heart of anyone willing to give it the time it thoroughly deserves.

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