Juliette Walking in the Rain is genuinely breathtaking and the haunting Valley Of Tears is truly transcendent. A hugely rewarding album.
- Hotpress Magazine
Chester’s fifth album is yet another reason to wonder out loud just how and why he isn’t much better known. Chester’s stylistic traces have rarely been better outlined. Dark Mornings is melody incarnate, brimming with chiming guitar chords and wistful lyrics, while Valley Of Tears is as beautifully sorrowful as the title indicates. The pleasures of the remaining tracks unfurl somewhat more slowly, but are no less rich or rewarding.
- Tony Clayton-Lea, The Sunday Business Post
With some heavy-duty guests, including cellist Vyvienne Long, in tow, the respected Dublin producer's fifth album, an exploration of faith, love, discovery and belief, is deep, personal and intriguing.
- The Evening Herald
Archbishop McQuaid, Julliette Binoche, the “national razor” and the Swastika Laundry all get mentions on Joe Chester’s haunting new album, The Easter Vigil. "Spy Wednesday" bristles with lyrics worthy of Elvis Costello. The Easter Vigil is his most profound and moving work yet.
This fifth album is another beautifully produced collection. From the string-driven Spy Wednesday to the gentle venom of the title track The Easter Vigil with melodies that linger and lyrics that prod and provoke. Recommended.
- The Sunday Times
A tonic for these times, a triumph of substance over style.
- The Sun
The songs on The Easter Vigil are among his strongest to date - which is saying something.
- The Irish Mirror
A songwriter’s songwriter, he’s had praise for his alt-pop melodies heaped on him but… his career hasn’t been forged with those aims. Instead, he’s trying to do something different: challenge himself and continue to make music that feels original. There are touches of Beck’s The Golden Age on his new album The Easer Vigil, alongside the kind of elegant, minor-key flourishes reminiscent of The Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan. The tone is intimate, warm and vulnerable.
- Nadine O'Regan
Eight songs long, and softer and more spartan than much of Joe’s previous output, ‘The Easter Vigil’ is simply another chapter in a body of work that’s as impressive as that by any contemporary Irish artist. From the peppy opener that takes place on ‘Spy Wednesday’ to the magnificent closer, ‘I’m Not A Christian Anymore’, located on Easter Sunday, the record’s central figure concludes a passage from confident believer [‘I know that my Redeemer lives’] through self-doubt, uncertainty and onwards into disbelief. When, over the album’s concluding bars, Joe sings ;- ‘that night in the sleeping house of God, I was a phantom walking in the corridor. I was a Christian then, I’m not a Christian anymore’.
And after that it’s just the magic of the soft hush ;- and it’s beautiful. Because for all of it’s allegory and bespoke references [‘the feast of Corpus Christi’, ‘Swastika Laundry’ and ‘the valley of tears’], Joe still finds the real wonder in the smaller, far less abstract moments. The single, ‘Juliette Walking In The Rain’ is about exactly that, a chance encounter with the French actress Juliette Binoche as she makes her way across Meeting House Square in Central Dublin. While for all the swagger on ‘Dark Mornings’, the song ultimately – and maybe invariably? – finds itself dissecting matters of the heart as Joe points out that he’s ‘just looking out the window, waiting for you to wake up’.
And that’s where Joe’s gift lies. The devil may indeed always lurk amidst the detail but it takes the confidence of a master to allow the magic flourish deep inside the quiet.
- The Blackpool Sentinel
Album of the week
- Marty Whelan, RTE Lyric FM
Album of the week
- Tom Dunne, Newstalk FM