CD Review: Sixteen Layers “I Am No One”

As a journalist and an editor who’s involved with several music magazines, I get a lot (and I mean a LOT!) of music sent my way for review and lately I’d been feeling awfully bummed out about all the predictable, emotionless tracks I was hearing. Fortunately, it turns out that it’s true what they say; sometimes you really do find the greatest things when you’re not looking. When I headed out last Saturday to catch a show my friend’s local Montreal band was headlining, I hadn’t the slightest inkling that I’d be so utterly blown away by the out-of-town supporting act, which was visiting us all the way from Ireland. And when I say blown away; I mean it. These guys were mind-blowingly, effing fabulous.

Who am I speaking of? In case the title hasn’t already give it away, it’s Sixteen Layers. Comprised of Niall Donnelly (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), John Colbert (Bass Guitar), Dom Muldoon (Lead Guitar) and Tim McGrath (Drums), this Irish four-piece has a true knack for writing well-crafted, unforgettable songs and their debut, “I Am No One,” is (thankfully!) just as tight and exquisite as their live set.

“I Am No One” is a perfectly eclectic compilation of eleven songs that all seem so different and yet, so similar. The flow of the album is smooth and, despite their differences, the tracks fuse seamlessly. What’s more, the lyrics are never short on depth and meaning (surprisingly rare nowadays), the vocals are always passionate, the guitars are powerful and the drums, well, they’re the backbone to it all. So, from hard rock anthems with sing-as-loud-as-you-possibly-can choruses to softer, more emotionally charged (rock) ballads: Sixteen Layers take you on a musical journey you won’t want to end. In fact, this might be the perfect moment to throw in a disclaimer: “Warning: Listening to “I Am No One” may cause dependence and an inability to stop.”

Aside from all these positives, a major part of my affinity and love for this album stems from the difficulty to typecast the band and record into a specific niche which, if you ask me, is a grand part of their beauty and charm. And although they’ve been compared by critics to the likes of early U2 and Thin Lizzy, all I can really say is that Sixteen Layers sounds like Sixteen Layers – and I’d have it no other way (and I’m sure they wouldn’t either!)

So, forget U2: Sixteen Layers might just be Ireland’s best export since Guinness back in 1769. Need I say more?

Rating: 9 / 10

Buy the album here:  I Am No One

For more Sixteen Layers head over to: http://www.myspace.com/sixteenlayers