The release of their debut album 'Sweeter than Bourbon' saw Limerick band Senakah tour the states and also receive a warm reception while touring North America. On this side of the water, the quartet first tipped the radar of the Irish public when their single 'Clarity' reached the top twenty in 2008. Fast forward to present day and the band formerly known as Seneca are back with a slightly new name and new album to go along with it. This time around Noel Hogan of The Cranberries is on production duties to help bring Senakah's mix of accessible rock and intriguing lyrics to life.
Opener, 'The Frontline' drifts from a gentle acoustic verse to a sturdier sounding chorus with fast paced electric guitar melodies not dissimilar to Two Door Cinema Club. Then instantly the musical coin is flipped with 'Ugly', a song which is already doing the rounds as the album's unofficial first single, with an already phenomenal amount of You Tube hits. In true singer-songwriter style, the reflective lyrics encourage us to "spare a thought for someone else, they don't cost that much you know" Rob Hope's vocals on the line "In time you'll heal, the troubles you feel, someday you'll find funny" harbour a conviction, a certainty and a peculiar sense of comfort all at once making this a must hear tune.
'Human Relations' speeds things up again with a catchy as hell hook and uncomplicated verse/ chorus structure that's crying out for daytime radio play and a live performance at a festival near you soon. Elsewhere Hope's falsetto and the addition of Yvonne Conaty's vocal on 'My Prime' present an urgency accented by arresting rock guitars during a building, dramatic chorus. Her lead vocal returns on 'Head On Steam' along with heart clutching strings and a beautiful melody.
While Senakah's sound probably won't win awards for musical innovation, it's slight predictability is unfortunate but their attention to detail, evocative lyrical style and focus on creating melodies that are sing-able and memorable is what makes 'Human Relations' worth investigation. The ground explored here may not be new but it is solid under Senakah's feet and it appears that 'the difficult second album' clichés have been skilfully avoided.
Review by Karen Lawler