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Awash in critical praise for earlier musical efforts, Eleanor McEvoy released What's Following Me in 1996 for Columbia Records. True to her past musical creations, the singer/songwriter's second disc delivers 12 soft rock lullabies full of anguished yet subdued lyrics. Although frequently compared to fellow Irish songstress Sinéad O'Connor, listeners should not expect thick Celtic inflections, stylized yodeling, and other O'Connor vocal acrobatics on What's Following Me. It's the uniquely feminine approach to personal, sometimes controversial subject matter that will remind listeners of O'Connor. Performance stylizations occupy a low priority on What's Following Me when compared to McEvoy's redemptive lyric yearnings. The constant rhyming comes off as a bit contrived, but for the most part, McEvoy employs simple, sweet poetry. Topics like alcoholism and Catholicism are explored in depth, but McEvoy's feelings of betrayal -- as expressed in her mostly lovelorn ballads -- are most central to her message. Highlights include the mellow tracks "Sleepless," "All That Surrounds Me," and the Top Ten radio hit "Precious Little." During more up-tempo numbers, McEvoy struggles with her soft-spoken vocal approach and fails to match her band's intensity. With so much to say, it would have served the songwriter well to take a few vocal cues from her more expressive countrymen and women (U2, O'Connor) as her subdued crooning adds no emotional weight to the record's livelier material. Instead, McEvoy goes to a minimal extreme, often whispering or half-speaking her lyrics, leaving listeners without a discernable melody. Entropic musical wanderings, and McEvoy's restrained vocals inhibit What's Following Me -- an otherwise successful display of introspective songwriting. New listeners might want to check out 1993's self-titled debut or the more immediate Snapshots before picking up this collection.
Performance CreditsEleanor McEvoy Primary Artist,Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Violin,Electric Guitar,Harpsichord,Keyboards,Vocals
Mark Isham Trumpet
David James Cello
Lloyd Byrne Percussion,Conga,Drums,Tambourine,Multi Instruments
Kieran McEvoy Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Jim Tatem Bass
Andreja Malir Harp
Technical CreditsKevin Moloney Producer,Engineer
Eleanor McEvoy Producer,String Arrangements
Tracy Boychuk Art Direction
Polly Becker Illustrations