Aoife Carton is a Dublin born, London based singer and let me immediately set your minds at ease - it is pronounced "ee-fuh"! She's sporadically been releasing singles since 2017, and the undoubted success of this one may cause some to revisit her back catalogue for further gems.
Whether intentional or a combination of budget or Lockdown restrictions, she has emerged with a sound that brings together an Americana sound and tinged it with some of her Irish origins, some dance beats and a pure pop sensibility to make a refreshing sound.
There's a spaghetti western guitar sound and an almost native American drum beat that open the song along with Aoife's backing vocals hanging in the ether to intrigue the listener before things have even got properly started. Lyrically it starts with a rebuke and it is immediately apparent that this song has a very specific target and that some scores are being settled - this lady is not to be played with!
"Well you didn't think I could be so cold now then did you?
Thought that my love was set in stone"
Aoife's vocals are soft, gentle which nicely counterpoint the retrained knowing of the words, there is no doubt as to who is having their say here.
The pure pop of the chorus has a faint banjo running through that neatly keeps it in touch with its country roots
"i could be the kind of girl you're looking for, waiting for you, hanging on your every word
took all the love cos I wouldn't get any from you, that's just not what I'm into"
The second verse sees Aoife get even more sassy and assertive
"Boys like you are all the same - think you can use me for your pleasure, I won't know any better"
There is a settling of scores, reminders of how poorly she's been treated and a clear statement of intent that those days are gone.
There is a definitely empowering "I'm not still crying over you" that lets acts as a final reminder of who is in charge
Ending suddenly on a little guitar flourish it's a perfect little single
Not What I'm Into is released on June 4th
We mentioned searching Aoifes back catalogue for gems and it seems there is a veritable untapped mine waiting to be discovered and it is fascinating watching her style develop across the 5 singles spread over a 4 year period. There are a few constants, there is always an impressive narrative, and a strong sense of rhythm, and celtic her origins are always there, sometimes as barely a flash but unmistakably still there.
So let's take a stroll down memory lane
"Who I Am Today" was her previous and most popular single to date , which has a driving guitar sound and a pulsating beat to it as it literally details how she has become who she is. It is written from a point of confidence today, but at times it is heart breaking and brutally honest
"I didn't dance till I turned 19
cos my friends at school said
I hadn't got the rhythm in me!"
It does get to a point of positivity though as Aoife takes tells us how
I've been clearing every hurdle, goal for goal" - if you like "Not What I'm Into", you love this as well undoubtedly.
"Lay My Cards Down" sees a more acoustic version of Aoife, that is equally as engaging as her more poppy persona. There is lots to find in here, from lyrics perpetually asking questions to the gambling imagery.
It is a break up song born of frustration and the Laying down of cards has a clear double meaning
There is one line that has proved to be strangely unintentionally prophetic
"Did the world place bans on our travelling plans?"
"Edinburgh" is a song that is driven by a sense of urgency from the very start that finds us in
"the shadow of the castle".
It explores the role of alcohol in a relationship
There's a strong narrative, that opening verse painting a vivid picture of Edinburgh, while the sound has a fiddle used to great effect.
The second verse see us in Venice equally clearly painted. The core issue lies in the chorus
"In a cafe in Italy you would you have spoken the words I long to hear
over coffee not beer, sober and clear no fear in you"
"Capsule" sounds like Aoife being given some some harsh therapy
"Write your feelings down and throw it away
That’s what was said to me
Don’t be casting shadows its selfish pain
Not what we’re here to see "
There's a brooding, resentment throughout the whole song and a feeling of darkness
"I’m burying all my reservations and my hesitation
And my memories of you
In a capsule"
Halfway through there is a complete change of pace as at the bridge there is repeated section where four times the same phrase is repeated in a quite affecting way
"Bury it, bury it underground, send it burning down down down
Don’t dig it up, don’t dig it up now, Dance around the flames let it out"
It's possibly a bit unfair going back to 2017 but this is the first formative step that Aoife took into the recording world. Interestingly, press at the time seems to refer to it being the opening song from an EP which never materialised or if it did has been lost to the digital world.
This is teenage Aoife and much more acoustic, yet there is still the confidence to take the song and speed it up half way through.
The vocal is way out at the front of the mix and is forthright lacking the story telling texture that it will show on the later recordings but there is still enough here to male it worth adding to your collection.