Conchúr White today announces his debut album, Swirling Violets, out on 19th January 2024 via Bella Union. To accompany the announcement, White has shared the striking first single, “I Did Good Today”. Part compulsive confessional, part plea, Conchúr White’s dreamy reflection on the longing for validation traces an arc towards a lustrous, sighing chorus with weightless fluency.
Between his impressionistic lyrics and luminous backdrops, the first dispatch from White’s incoming debut album seems to glow from within.
Commenting on the track Conchúr – pronounced Conor – White says: “I Did Good Today is a song about craving validation but understanding that such approval can come at the expense of honesty or integrity. Musically I reference the likes of Midlake, Aldous Harding and Bleachers. The track was recorded in a Belfast church with producers Danny Morgan Ball and Kris Platt and mixed in London by Matt Wiggins.”
Additionally, White has announced news of a busy upcoming live schedule, including a support show with Margaret Glaspy at London’s Omeara tomorrow, support dates with John Grant & Richard Hawley on their upcoming tour playing the songs of Patsy Cline, then shows with The Magnetic Fields in Europe in November. All dates are listed further down the announcement.
“I like surreal settings, but with tangible messages,” says White. A singer-songwriter from County Armagh, White navigates the dreamlike and the grounded with blissful fluency on his beautifully lambent debut album. Released through Bella Union in January, Swirling Violets is allusive and intimate, unearthly yet instantly accessible: touching on fully felt themes with grace and lightness, it’s a richly imagined album of multitudes from an instinctive talent.
As White explains it, “There wasn’t a conscious theme, though the songs operate in the same sort of space, that sense of surrealism. There’s ghosts, there’s other worlds. There’s a cosmic feeling, questions about the beginning and the end and dreams. And then there’s simpler songs, love songs about the feelings of infatuation you have when you’re young”
Watch the lyric video for ‘I Did Good Today’ – BELOW:
The opener, ‘The Holy Death’, is exemplary, with White setting folk-ish reflections on mortality to an elegant melody within a chiming arrangement that shifts effortlessly to a more maniacal mode for the climax.
The hymnal ‘Righteous’ swerves sideways into tender introspection, setting a reflection on religion and the longing for vindication to an airy melody. ‘501s’ is a different ballgame, a dream-pop reflection on teenage infatuation played with an impressionistic lyricism; White evokes the tastes and textures of lived-in youthful experience at a stroke. The dappled folk of ‘Rivers’ dives deep into themes of compulsion and how others try to accommodate the afflicted and addicted.
Elsewhere, White ranges deftly from lost-love songs (‘Fawn’) to tales of tragic romance (‘The Woman in the War’). The title track is a melting beauty, drawing you deep inside its “parallel world” of longing. Wherever you listen, these are songs with stories to tell and sublime ways of telling them: “There’s not one track on the album that doesn’t mean something to me,” says White.
A music graduate who has also worked alongside young people with mental health issues, White’s story began in bands. He played in atmospheric indie-rockers Silences before their split allowed Conchúr to develop his solo voice at his own pace. That sense of freedom colours Conchúr’s music. On the Bikini Crops and Dreamers EPs, he filtered the influences of acts such as Arctic Monkeys (recent vintage) and Father John Misty into songs at once playful, referential and experiential. The moonlit plea of this year’s ‘Atonia’, a cathartic reverie on sleep paralysis, showed White’s melodic and lyrical talents blossoming.
Collaborators on Swirling Violets include Matt Wiggins, who mixed the album; producers Kris Platt and Danny Morgan Ball; and co-writer/producer Iain Archer (‘Swirling Violets’). Finally, Brendan Jenkinson produced the closer, ‘Deadwood’, a serene drift through the “mystic night” under the “summer’s moonlight”. An irresistible invitation to float along with White, Swirling Violets is a magic-realist wonder from a new name to reckon with, bathed in a radiant glow.
Conchúr White UK + European live dates:
20 Sept – LONDON – Omeara (with Margaret Glaspy)
21 Sept – SUNDERLAND – The Fire Station (with John Grant & Richard Hawley)
22 Sept – BRIGHTON – Brighton Dome (with John Grant & Richard Hawley)
23 Sept – COVENTRY – Warwick Arts Centre (with John Grant & Richard Hawley)
06 Oct – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club (with The Boxer Rebellion)
08 Oct – DUNDALK – Spirit Store
12 Oct – NYON – La Parenthese
14 Oct – KALTERN – Kaltern Pop Festival
22 Oct – CARDIFF – SWN Festival
28 Oct – AMSTERDAM – London Calling Festival
29 Oct – HALDERN – Haldern Pop Bar
02 Nov – BRIGHTON – Mutations Festival
04 Nov – BARCELONA – Sala Apolo (with The Magnetic Fields)
05 Nov – ZARAGOZA – Sala Oasis (with The Magnetic Fields)
06 Nov – MADRID – La Paqui (with The Magnetic Fields)
13 Nov – BRUSSELS – Orangerie (with The Magnetic Fields)
15 Nov – OSLO – Rockefeller (with The Magnetic Fields)
16 Nov – GOTHENBURG – Pustervik (with The Magnetic Fields)
17 Nov – STOCKHOLM – Nalen (with The Magnetic Fields)
19 Nov – HELSINKI – Tavastia (with The Magnetic Fields)
Swirling Violets artwork and tracklist:
1. The Holy Death
2. Righteous (Why Did I Feel Like That?)
5. I Did Good Today
6. Swirling Violets
7. Red House Parlour
8. Before Ten
10. The Woman In The War