Watch: Ryan Vail – Wounds

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Dropped when we were at crazy peak deadline for the latest issue of our magazine three weeks ago, we’ve been all but waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night, terribly shame-ridden and sunken of pallor having missed the chance to share our thoughts on ‘Wounds’ by Derry’s Ryan Vail. Set to release his long-awaited debut album, For Every Silence, this Spring, Vail’s balmy, synth-laden electronica has long ensured his rightful ranking as one of our favourite Irish acts; each release betraying a confidence and command of his craft that always hinted at something sensational in the making.

Essentially confirming that fact, ‘Wounds’ is classic Vail but with an added air of implication and self-assurance. Melding gossamer-like nocturnalism with an almost omniscient, spoken-worded vocal authority, the track relates the grandest of grand mysteries – everyone’s hidden anxieties of ageing and disconnection – in finespun, sublime fashion. “I’m a shadow of myself growing cold in my own home,” delicately parts Vail, making flesh of the vague skeletal fears and inhibitions that silently soundtrack one’s thirties and beyond.

Of course, that’s what we initially thought until we delved a little further. Having used an almost century old piano to record on For Every Silence Vail, ‘Wounds’ is a track about its journey and eventual decline: “The track is about a piano who wants to be played but is ignored in his own room,” Vail said. “The previous owner was a radio enthusiast so this explains the radio sample. It’s one of the most electronic tracks on the album.”

Tapping into our original theory about the song’s impetus and backstory, Michael Barwise’s video for the track captures a couple in the throes of what Joyce called “paralysis” in The Sisters (something of an Irish phenomenon if nothing else, from the inside looking in).

For Every Silence is release via Quiet Arch and Believe on April 1.

Go here to help contribute to Vail’s Pledge campaign for the album.

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.