Search icon


04th Oct 2019

“A powerful listen.” Her reviews Dermot Kennedy’s debut album, Without Fear

Lorna Lawless

Get the tissues ready.

Dermot Kennedy’s debut album, Without Fear, isn’t the type of album you casually listen to in the background. It’s the type that compels you to stop, put your headphones on and listen intently to as Dermot pours out the depths of his soul through profoundly personal lyrics and immense musical detailing. Kennedy wears his heart on his sleeve from start to finish – and it proves to be a powerful listen.

The opener, An Evening I Will Not Forget, sets the tone for the whole album. The rawness of his raspy vocals  injects the listener into the breakdown of a relationship, and you can feel straight away that this is only the beginning of the story.

This tone continues as we explore Dermot’s tortured monologue throughout the whole record. He takes us through his personal ups and downs when it comes to love, loss and life. 

This debut is a long awaited one from the 27-year-old Rathcoole man – in fact, the wait was a week longer than expected, with Kennedy pushing back the release date, saying he wanted to make sure it was “exactly how I want it to be” in a handwritten note posted on his Twitter account.

The singer has been releasing music since 2015, but for the last year has seen Kennedy constantly on the rise touring worldwide, with highly successful singles here and abroad. Taylor Swift was among those to notice his unique vocals and writing ability. Way back in 2017  she included him on an exclusive playlist on Spotify, calling the Irish singer ‘poetic’.

The fact that this is Kennedy’s debut album release is mind-blowing considering the following he’s gained through the chart-topping singles included on this album, including Outnumbered and Power Over Me.

Elsewhere on the album, All My Friends is a stunning piece of music laced with nostalgia for summers spent with his closest, and longing for the people who helped him through tough times. Next comes Moments Passed, an emotional ballad with some slight electronic backbeats perfected by Jay-Z’s producer Mike Dean. It’s almost guaranteed to be a hit. 

Without Fear includes intimate love ballads, such as Dancing Under Red Skies, mixed with darker musings subjects like  alcoholism and homelessness in The Corner.

Redemption is a beautiful love song with a super-chilled vibe and a catchy chorus. Then we slide onto the title track, which is a lovely string-based song and feels like an uplifting piece to conclude this powerful album. It feels nostalgic, yet like the singer is closing a chapter and opening himself up to a whole new phase – hopeful for the future, keeping us all in anticipation for what’s coming next.

The balance between the electronic synths, light strings and that raspy voice makes for a highly emotive masterpiece.