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 Bathroom Floor 
Artist: Booley 
Label: Grassroots Distribution (US)/Indie (UK)
Length: 7 tracks + 1 hidden aside / 37:22 minutes 

Back in 1997, the Booley House caused a small stir with a promising album called Lemonade. Since then the partnership behind that album has dissolved to leave a solo performer going by the name Booley. Currently earning himself a string of high profile support slots in Ireland (north and south), Booley has produced a debut EP soaked in
quirky pop vibes. 

Booley has an unusual voice. His vocals are soft and highly melodic, but remain strong. He has a wide range and puts this to good effect; on "Drown," the sudden changes from mid-range to high pitch are particularly impressive and add to the atmosphere and emotion of the piece. Melody is definitely the focus on this release, conveyed as much by
Booley's skill with Rhodes and Hammond organs and the piano as by his voice. 

The musical influences displayed are broad. The potent combination of pop sensibilities with an artful approach to their craft employed by figures like Elvis Costello and Neil Finn is obvious, while the cited influence of Bruce Cockburn remains more veiled. Real guitars and bass are evident throughout most of the album, but all the drums are programmed by Matt Wanstall. These add a contemporary freshness to the sound without drawing too much attention to themselves. None of the songs are particularly invigorating, but there is an energy driving everything along with a fair pinch of variety. 

In the midst of the music, Booley's lyrics are not forgotten. The Booley House gained much of their recognition for the single "Time Is Right," which examined the troubles in Northern Ireland and won a local songwriting contest there. Social justice and personal confession are woven together tightly on this project as well: 

      Well it's easy to accuse 
      To rant and rave about the news 
      While the politicians fight 
      About their trite subjective views 
      And this woman weaves existence 
      Like she was living in the ghetto 
      I don't know if she can reach me 
      Not sure I want to let her 
      (from "Alright")

Towards the end of this EP the tightly crafted production slips a little, and it may take a while for this release to grow on some listeners. Nevertheless, the buzz about Booley seems deserved, and we can but hope that some of those high profile support slots pay off. 

James Stewart (6/23/99) 

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