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ARTHUR O'DONOVAN

WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM ARTHUR O’DONOVAN – AWAKENING

Not very often do we encounter a piece of music that strikes us as totally original, unique, or otherworldly. Something that hits our ears and transports us somewhere entirely new. Arthur O’Donovan is a 24-year-old producer, singer, and songwriter from Leicester, and he specialises in creating music just like this.

At the end of March, he dropped his latest collection of works – Awakening. The album is a culmination of O’Donovan’s experimentations inspired by his rich musical upbringing. With both performed and electronic elements, he takes us on a diverse journey, exploring various themes through innovative mediums.

It begins with the overly grand introduction Mornin’. Comprised of a thought-provoking spoken word sequence above cinematic instrumentals, the arrangement gradually grows and then falls, as the speaker welcomes us into the album: to control darkness whilst resonating pure light/welcome to Arthur O’Donovan’s… Awakening.

What follows is more mainstream, with tracks Forever Be Yours and Awakening boasting bubbly, perky instrumentals, and rhythmically groomed beats. The former is a modern love ballad wrapped in optimism, while the latter details O’Donovan’s generational quandaries as he grapples with social media and societal issues. His lyrics here are particularly extrospective and showcase his strengths in articulation.  

ARTHUR O'DONOVAN

Track five, Smile, is one of the more personal songs, which sees O’Donovan reflecting on the medical journey that has heavily influenced his attitude towards making music. Atop bright guitar and piano instrumentals, he speaks his truth: eighteen-year-old whose lungs were put to the test/it’s my gift to make this world a brighter place/you’ve got to smile and watch the whole world smile back at you. It’s an inspiring tune, that puts us deeply in touch with O’Donovan and his mentality.

Fear and Roller Coaster harbour an edgier tone, with more adult themes that Arthur O’Donovan’s older audience might relate to. He raps in an impressive flow about mental health, conflict, and the darker side of relationships.

The album rounds off with two subdued tracks, Nuna, an acoustic version of O’Donovan’s 2021 single, and an enchanting acoustic version of Forever Be Yours. These renditions present both songs in a different, more emotive light that serves as a stunning ending to Awakening.

Circling back, there is something about this album that just feels special. The grand introduction certainly plays its role in creating this atmosphere, but the rest of the album does follow suit. Aside from its touching and relatable content, it perfectly showcases O’Donovan’s expert level of song crafting and production. And just enough of his personality shines through to top things off.

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