For most of the past decade, the quietly famous Ian McGlynn has been churning out heartbreakers and soul stirrers. Songs that have served as accompaniment to major motion pictures and minor heartaches. It seems Ian’s songs were written expressly for both.
Dating back to his first full-length in 2004, the Berklee College of Music alum has always straddled the line between the cinematic and the intimate. Eight years on from his debut album, that line has only gotten tighter. True to its title, “Now We’re Golden,” Ian’s third album, is totally rife with shimmering sonic beds that provide the perfect launching pad (and landing place) for some serious, soaring melodies. Hard to believe they were all written on a tiny Casiotone MT-220 keyboard (which he kept with him at all times in case inspiration struck or his schedule suddenly aligned with his songwriting partner Chris Newkirk.)
Schedules aligning is indeed a big part of the album’s story. And aligning with Ken Stringfellow’s was no easy task. Having discussed making an album together for years, Ian leapt at the sudden opportunity to take advantage of the few small gaps in Ken’s schedule.
The truth is, Ian had an entire album already written that isn’t this one. But he wanted to write a fresh new batch of songs for Ken—despite having mere weeks to do so. Which is where the MT-220 takes its starring turn.
As much as the album was written in a burst, it was recorded in a whirl. The sessions took place in Paris, Amsterdam and exotic Somerville, NJ. And the songs feel as diverse as the locales they were recorded in, as if the environments permeated the production somehow. Ken widened Ian’s sonic palette and helped give the record a golden glow.
The resplendent sound, of course, reflects the album title, “Now We’re Golden.” Taken from the closer, the line sums up the record’s intentions perfectly. It makes intimacy an inclusive and inviting thing. A celebration.