Mike O’Malley has always believed that songs are inextricable from their occasions. It’s why he could never slow-dance to “Tears in Heaven” or shag to “Last Kiss” in high school. His task, as he sees it now, is to match songs to the occasion of his present.
On “Beastie,” his debut LP, he can be heard summoning the totality of his resources to do so, folding the Irish folk of his distant heritage into his dramatic and quixotic aesthetic. He sings about the indignity of a grudge held too long (“Garden”), the vertigo of being too specialized (“Hang by a Thread”), the white-hot fear accompanying the accidents that move time (“Noble Rot”) and offers, at the end, a benediction (“Come Low”).
He resides in Brooklyn, New York, where he moved from his beloved North Carolina.