To The Maker of Things is a four-track EP credited to Ciaran Lavery and The Bad Hearts. Rather than the full-on arrangements that will be familiar to fans of Captain Kennedy's material, these songs are more stripped down, whimsical affairs on which Ciaran's smooth, husky vocals take centre stage. In particular the late night lament 'Til Your Leaving' jumps right out with just a lazily strummed acoustic and the raw emotion of Lavery's voice carrying the tune with ease.
There's a smidgen more instrumentation employed elsewhere (piano, mandolin, banjo, box drums) but in general the low-key 'sitting on the porch with a bottle of whiskey and memories of the way we were' vibe cuts through loud and clear - or rather, quiet and clear.
He's in full-on heartache mode throughout the EP, with the gentle, sad country pop ballad Needle and Thread telling a tale of broken promises and cut-off heads.
Soft and gentle finale So, Goodnight enjoys the benefit of breathy female backing vocals to set the mood, also employed to great effect in beefing up the melancholic melodies on opener I Lost.
Its all great, saccharine-free stuff that should be enough to guarantee Ciaran Lavery and indeed The Bad Hearts a residency at any decent dive bar. They'll have the punters crying into their beers even as they scrape together enough shrapnel to buy a CD and a carry-out for after hours listening.