Manchester-based singer-songwriter has shared ‘Calling Mullingar’, a song based around a train journey from Dublin to visit family on the west of Ireland. It finds Alf reflecting on his Catholic Irish upbringing and the beliefs that played a huge role in his younger years but are not so prominent now: ‘Writing this song was quite cathartic for me actually. I feel like Catholicism has left a big imprint on my life and character – something of that Catholic guilt will stay with me for the rest of my days, as well as the chills I get from flashbacks to confessing sins and kneeling for an altar. Odd rituals and odd notions of what kindness is and how it should be applied. The song is definitely a comment on how straight and rigid the church is in their ways – an unrelenting track, upon which a train rattles on to seemingly no end. In a lot of ways, I’m glad I stepped off.’
Alf delivers a ghostly falsetto against a backdrop that flits between the art rock of Wild Beasts, raw emotional power of Dry the River and fragile beauty of Keaton Henson. The song takes you on a journey as Alf talks about his family and wanting to grow (‘Dublin feels like a lifetime ago’), getting the shakes and having ‘nowhere left to go’. Fittingly, the song comes to an abrupt end – just like when someone has premonition of what is right for them.
https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/988407511&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true Alf Whitby · 01. Alf Whitby – Calling Mullingar