'File Under Rock' says the cover of his debut LP but this is synthpop. The entire music is produced using only the Fairlight Computer Music Instrument, played by Paul Barrett (Metropolis, Midnight Well; he also wrote the sparkling synthpop theme for RTE's Bosco). According to the credits there are no other instruments present apart from drums and percussion, played by Don Harris (Metropolis, Peggy's Leg). Occasional glimpses of acoustic rhythm guitar are presumbly produced using the Fairlight. The LP was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin with producer Nicky Ryan.
Barry's Irish language vocals sound incongrous in this setting at first but one soon gets used to it. He's an adequate singer at best, but his vocals are sincere and the melodies undeniably strong and catchy. Don Harris is an excellent drummer but his talents are wasted here and in fact his style doesn't really suit the music well. The album leaves you wondering how the better songs might have fared with wider and more varied instrumentation and better, brighter production. It would also have benefitted from more appropriate cover artwork. This album is definitely worth hearing if you're into 1880s synth pop and but be warned, there are some horrible 1980s drum sounds, and some equally awful synths-as-horns moments.
I know nothing about Barry Ronan apart from the few details included in the uncredited Eastern Bloc bureaucrat sleeve notes:
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