Katie Doherty & The Navigators – ‘And Then’

❉ Contemporary in virtues, traditional in ornamentation, ‘And Then’ makes for vigorous listening.

“I’ll go out tonight” Doherty sings, every bit assured in its narrator’s ambition as The Smiths This Charming Man isn’t. I’ll Go Out exemplifies the anxieties a musical process evokes, Doherty’s timely sophomore effort arriving a decade after its predecessor, 2007’s Bridges, earned much acclaim, including airplay from BBC Radio 2 in its path. It was a sabbatical that benefitted George Harrison on his breathtaking Brainwashed (2002) and rest appears to have benefitted this singer too.

“The pressure to live up to expectation and to portray ‘perfect’ is ridiculous and in the age of social media, it’s constant, relentless and damaging” Doherty writes. “I think so much time can get lost in this pursuit and it kills creativity and imagination. I suppose it’s the ultimate procrastination…you don’t get much done when you’re so busy trying to live up to the world’s expectations. I’m not sure at what point in childhood we lose our wild abandon in favour of fitting in but it’d be great if we all had the ability to revert back once in a while.”  Speculation in art makes for vigorous listening, vigorous is how to best describe And Then.

Doherty broadened her palette since 2007. She’s acted as composer for many Northern Stage productions, as well as MD for a Royal Shakespeare Company production. Theatricalities preside the album. Piano lounger Heartbeat Ballroom silhouettes with the grace of a ballet piece, ballad A Rose In Winter harkens the prose James Goldman gifted Peter O’Toole, Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton. Tiny Little Shoes steeped in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fingerprints sounds like an invitation for chanteuse Elaine Page to record. The anthemic We Burn bursts with gusto rarely accomplished on an accordion collection.

It invites re-listens, themes as potent as the seasonal change of nature, the cyclical nature of human frailty and the superficial anxieties needlessly yet incessantly brought on by societal misdemeanours. Angry Daughter is the most immediately enjoyable on first listen, an empowering tale of feminine zest. Self-described as an anti-apology, a celebration of the measured, considered and dignified approach to standing ground, which often gets ignored, Daughter is contemporaneous in virtue, traditional in fiddle ornamentation. Irish textures bring this ballad back to the Mná na hÉirinn highlighted by Kate Bush and Mark Knopfler, which this writer particularly congratulates.

Doherty has a delicious voice, Yours benefits from textured timbres and whispered words. She’s shared a stage with Karine Polwart, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and Ray Davies in the past, boasting a prowess becoming of her voice.Doherty will tour with The Navigators (Dave Gray and Shona Mooney), promising a concert as vital as the album. “We’re really proud of the sound that we make as a trio,” Doherty declared to Narc Magazine, “so in that sense we will keep [the live performance] as true to the album as possible but there will be some surprises…there has to be some theatre involved, doesn’t there?!”

Katie Doherty & The Navigators – ‘And Then’ released Jan 25th via Steeplejack Music.

❉ Eoghan Lyng is a regular contributor to We Are Cult. His writing has also appeared in Record Collector, CultureSonar, Punk Noir Magazine and other titles.

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