PRINTER CLIPS is the new project from Irish wizard Paul Noonan, and with its first release, The Left Sleeve EP, it sees some gorgeous acoustic gems of pure melancholia. Taking a break from duties fronting Bell X1, this EP contains four duets with fellow singers Lisa Hannigan, Amy Millan, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Joan As Police Woman.
Starting with the sublime ‘Apparatchik’, it is easy to get lost in the gorgeous melodies provided by Lisa Hannigan as she compliments Noonan’s voice perfectly. Her hushed, delicate tones suck you in as the song slow burns into a masterful cacophony of choral and looped up vocals that bring the track to a halt. ‘If I Had Your Grace’ starts with a simple guitar refrain before looping in to a doubled up and almost acoustic sparring session. Amy Millan starts the vocals as Paul Noonan comes in with his strong tones at a slightly higher pitch.
The songwriting across the whole EP is wonderful. Although nothing new is really covered subject wise, the strength of the wordplay is and always has been a niche to Noonan. Each track has been perfectly crafted for whichever female singer accompanies him. “You leave me reeling, I’m feeling small” is a humble statement in the closing refrain of ‘If I Had Your Grace’. Millan’s vocals beginning to soar as the song cruelly comes to a close.
‘The Cartographer’ is an EP highlight. Paul starts off in a semi-country-esque style, with passion that builds up to the chorus with grace. As Maria Doyle Kennedy takes the second verse, the rhythm begins to build and become intertwined with the simple acoustic lines of Noonan. A simple mandolin and violin add texture to the song as the pair begin to synch up the vocals and build it towards a proper foot stomping tune. This has the taste of a late summer’s night written all over it.
Closing the EP with ‘Vapour Trail’, Joan As Police Woman makes an appearance taking lead vocal duties as she likens love to disappearing like a vapour trails, over a simple picked acoustic line. “These people haunt me” she reminisces as a delicate piano enters from the darkness of the song. Paul Noonan adding just delicate backing vocals to this one allows Joan to shine on the absolute purity of the song.
Overall, The Left Sleeve is a very strong and welcoming debut EP from the Dublin born singer-songwriter, who has pulled in some of the finest female talent to accompany him. With the album coming very soon, it bodes well for a rather unique record of duets that are set to include the likes of Gemma Hayes, Joan Wasser and Martha Wainwright amongst others. A very warm, summery and lovable EP to start things off with.