Following the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut album, we're delighted to present My Sweet Beloved's single 'Infernal Fires' as our Track Of The Day!
Described as "a song about superstition and allegory", 'Infernal Fires' is the second single from the album.
"'Infernal Fires’ is all meaty bassline, swirling guitar and a strident vocal similar to Anna Calvi fronting Garbage," John Walshe wrote in his review of My Sweet Beloved for Hot Press.
My Sweet Beloved combines the talents of former Skindive vocalist Danielle Harrison, Derek Byrne (Autumn Owls), Anton Hegarty (Future Kings of Spain, A Lazarus Soul) and Dan Devlin (Moskowitz).
Take a look at the video for 'Infernal Fires' on mysweetbeloved.com
I remember back around the turn of the millennium, being reluctantly dragged by a publicist to see a band he represented playing a showcase in Vicar Street. The band was Skindive and I left the venue believing I had just seen the best heavy alt-rock act this island had ever produced, ready to fill the gap left by the then-ailing Smashing Pumpkins.
The main reason for my excitement was front-woman Danielle Harrison, a pocket rocket from Los Angeles with the voice of a screaming angel and the stage presence to back it up. Unfortunately, Skindive didn’t survive past their second album, and it has taken the singer almost two decades to put together her own band. But boy was it worth the wait!
Now Danielle Harrison Byrne, following her marriage to fellow musician Derek Byrne (Autumn Owls), she has recruited himself on guitar, as well as drummer Dan Devlin (Moskowitz) and the most dependably brilliant bassist in Ireland, Anton Hegarty (A Lazarus Soul, Future Kings Of Spain), for a debut album that more than lives up to its promise.
If the dark drama of PJ Harvey and prime Nick Cave are your aural drugs of choice, then My Sweet Beloved is right up your twisted alley, from the menacing ‘Call Off Your Dogs’ to the goth-rock operetta of ‘Violetta A Story’. Lead single ‘The Invitation’ is slow and sombre, an eerie soundscape overlaid with dramatic drum flourishes and haunting vocals. ‘Infernal Fires’ is all meaty bassline, swirling guitar and a strident vocal similar to Anna Calvi fronting Garbage.
The brilliant ‘Big Smoke’ sees Harrison Byrne soaring over industrial slabs of noise, and the magnificent ‘Sweet Fresh Meats’ alternates between almost whispered vocals and waves of crashing guitars.
It may have taken nigh on 20 years, but this debut finally heralds the arrival of Ireland’s newest great alt-rock band.
The critically acclaimed musician Joe Chester – who was also in The Waterboys and toured with Gemma Hayes – had been asked by the Dublin outfit’s frontwoman Danielle Harrison to master their record at his studio in France
It was quite literally music to the ears stuff for Joe Chester when My Sweet Beloved reached out to him about their long-awaited debut studio album.
The critically acclaimed musician – who was also in The Waterboys and toured with Gemma Hayes – had been asked by the Dublin outfit’s frontwoman Danielle Harrison to master their record at his studio in France.
“I first became aware of Danielle when she was the singer in Skindive – that must have been in the late ’90s,” Joe told the Irish Daily Mirror.
“A few years later we were together in a short-lived band called The Ruby Tailights, which was a vehicle for the song-writing genius Martin Kelly, of Sunbear fame. This was 2006 and I remember even then, Martin and myself pestering her to make a record of her own songs. We loved her voice so much. It’s a measure of her absolute perfectionism and laser-like attention to detail that she finally released it 14 years later. I was so happy when it arrived at my studio for mastering – good things come to those who wait!”
My Sweet Beloved – the line-up includes Anton Hegarty (Future Kings of Spain, A Lazarus Soul), Dan Devlin (Moskowitz) and Danielle’s hubby Derek Byrne (Autumn Owls) – have received some glowing reviews for their “better late than never” debut with it even getting a four out of five stars review in the so-called paper of record, The Irish Times.
And if the filmmaker David Lynch was ever looking for an Irish band to appear at the Twin Peaks’ Roadhouse he should look no further than My Sweet Beloved with their brooding, atmospheric blend of sultry blues-rock and dark experimental pop, according to A Lazarus Soul frontman Brian Brannigan.
“They’ve really taken their time with this album and have crafted such a rich sounding record, with echoes of the Banshees and Toni Halliday. David Lynch has got to book this band for the Roadhouse,” Brian told the Irish Daily Mirror.
Brian, whose last record with A Lazarus Soul was my personal pick for Best Irish Album of 2019, added: “I’ve seen Danielle play these spellbinding sets with just an electric guitar down through the years and was there at the band’s debut performance when they brought down the Other Voices tent at Electric Picnic.”
American-born Danielle first made a splash on the local music scene when she visited our shores on a wing and prayer back in the mid-90s.
“I’m from Los Angeles and a friend of mine had moved from LA to Ireland in 1996 and she had heard about Skindive auditioning a singer and she said, ‘This would be perfect for you’, because I was at a loose end,” Danielle told the Irish Daily Mirrror.
“And I was like, ‘I can’t afford to go to Ireland’. And she said, ‘No, I’ll put it on my credit card. You’ve got to come over’. She was very generous. So, I flew over and I got the gig. The day that I arrived I did the audition and then I moved to Ireland two weeks later. I thought it was going to be like going to college – I’d go away for a few months, but I’ve been here almost 25 years.”
The electronic rock outfit Skindive hit the ground running and were soon being described as the Irish version of Garbage.
There was such a buzz about them that Chris Blackwell – who founded the legendary Island Records, which is largely credited with turning the world onto reggae with Bob Marley and transforming U2 into global superstars – signed them to his then new label Palm.
“That was a really cool thing to happen,” Danielle said.
But – even though the band had no problem picking up airtime on Irish radio – they hit a major stumbling block in the good ol’ US of ’A.
“The biggest issue was, because we were signed to an American label, at that time there were no women on rock radio (in America). It was really only Limp Bizkit and those bands,” she explained.
“So, even though we had everything in place, the radio stations wouldn’t play us. And, funnily enough, when we basically gave up since we were just getting nowhere, the first woman on rock radio was Kelly Osbourne – so that just goes to show you what they were looking for was not proper music really. But now it’s easier. It was a baby label, so that might have been part of it as well.”
After parting ways with Blackwell, Skindive – who once even supported Snow Patrol – decided to do a second album off their own bat.
It’s a crying shame neither album managed to break the band because they had the type of sound that could’ve very easily slotted onto a Bond movie soundtrack – with even the RTE Orchestra playing with them on some tunes.
It had so much cinematic sound to it. The real orchestra did lead to the cinematic experience,” she said.
They were good times. They were good times and they were bad times. It wasn’t an easy break-up. It was hard. We just had to decide to let go, you know, because we were getting nowhere there. It had lost its magic.”
But Danielle had no regrets. “I got played on the radio with Skindive in Ireland – that was something I don’t know would’ve ever happened if I was living in LA because there’s so much going on there. My quality of life was better here, too,” she reasoned.
And not only were the stars aligned the next time Danielle started a band – but cupid was also on hand to play his part too.
“Seven years ago I met the guitar player who is also my husband. It’s a lovely story – we met through a friend and I didn’t know he played music and he didn’t know that I did either. It was a real happy accident,” she recalled.
Danielle was thrilled to have discovered Derek was, in more ways than one, on the same hymn sheet.
“I had played music with a lot of people in LA and in Dublin and I didn’t really ever meet anybody who understood where I was coming from with music exactly,” she explained.
“When you’re going to play music with people you have to tune into each other. So, I hadn’t really tuned into anyone exactly (before meeting Derek).”
She may have written all the songs on this album herself, but My Sweet Beloved is much more than the sum of its parts, as far as Danielle is concerned.
“All of the songs (on the album) I had started writing a good few years ago; maybe I started writing them about 10 years ago,” she said.
“It was serendipitous how the whole thing worked out. Because I was playing on my own when I would play a gig, it would just be me with my guitar and my songs.
“And the songs played in that way, while they told a story they came across in pencil sketch. But now with the band – and it is a band – it’s like broad strokes, it’s like bright colours. It’s the same stories but told in a much more fascinating way.
“It is a full band. With the second album the guys have written the music and I’m writing the lyrics.
“But this started with me writing the songs (for the first album) and they fleshed it out and made it much bigger.”
Why the band’s name? “I didn’t want it to be just my name, I wanted it to be a band because I wanted it to be respectful of the guys with me. And also, without being corny, my husband kind of brought me out… I just never dreamed that I’d be doing this again. So, it’s a homage to my greatest inspiration. I don’t want to be dorky, but that’s the truth.”
Derek clearly wears his heart on his sleeve too – judging by his surprise marriage proposal to Danielle. “We brought my cousin and her new husband over from Texas to Ireland as their wedding present. And Derek had told me that we were going on a tour of the castle Lough Eske in Donegal. And I’m very gullible – I believe what I’m told. So, we arrived down there and the guy was like, ‘Okay, so in 1690 this caught on fire…’ And he’s got his earpiece in and he goes, ‘You guys, I’ll be right back. You can just head on up there’. ‘And I look at Derek and I’m like, ‘Where do we go?’ He’s like, ‘We’ll just walk over this way’. “And Derek’s quite inquisitive, and he opened this door. And I was like, ‘Derek, don’t go in there! There’s candles on in there. That’s somebody’s room!’ “And he goes, ‘No, let’s check it out. And we walk in and I just saw the flowers and the champagne – and by the time I turned around he was on his knee! And it was in a little bell tower. It was really cool. He did a great job. And I cried. He used my grandmother’s ring. It was amazing. It’s still one of the best days of my life.”
The happy couple tied the knot three years ago. But My Sweet Beloved also clearly seems to be another marriage made in heaven.
I’ll leave the last words to Brian Brannigan, who told me: “The ladies are knocking it out of the park this year. My Sweet Beloved, Miriam Ingram’s Spells, Nina Hyne’s Zap, Gemma Dunleavy’s Up Da Flats, and Eileen Gogan And The Instructions: Under Moving Skies, to name but a few of the great Irish releases in 2020. My Sweet Beloved is one of my favs of the year.”
My Sweet Beloved’s debut album is available now to download on iTunes and Bandcamp. For further info check out their website mysweetbeloved.com
There’s a palpable sense of foreboding about this new single from gothic rock four-piece My Sweet Beloved.
Ex-Skindive singer Danielle Harrison Byrne provides suitably atmospheric vocals to match guitarist Derek Byrne’s heavy chords.
Danielle also directed the video.
Look out for their self-titled debut album.
Nick says: Hell’s bells.
My Sweet Beloved are a Dublin based band featuring a stellar cast of musicians who have all respectively achieved a lot. They include Derek Byrne of Autumn Owls, Anton Hegarty of Future Kings of Spain and A Lazarus Soul, Dan Devlin of Moskowitz, and Danielle Harrison Byrne from Los Angeles, who previously fronted Skindive during the late 1990s and early noughties. Together, this new band create a bracing and intoxicating mix of noise and melody.
On the opening track and lead single The Invitation, Harrison Byrne's voice soars over a sparse and minimal arrangement. On Infernal Fires they bring a heavier sound to the party, while Sweet Fresh Meats shows they know how to craft a catchy pop song.
Stubborn Change is even better, a dark and bittersweet tune that's reminiscent of dream pop duo Curve.
MSB deliver a startling 10-track collection of cracking alternative guitar pop. All songs bar one (the aforementioned Infernal Fires) are written by Danielle Harrison Byrne, who also co-produces the album with Les Keye. Joe Chester of A Lazarus Soul does a sterling job on mastering while another scene stalwart, Mark Colbert, contributes percussion to some tracks.
This self-titled album is an assured and arresting debut from a highly talented and accomplished collective.
Sadly, My Sweet Beloved's live plans have been put on ice until further notice, but there's still plenty here to admire in the meantime.
A buzzsaw backdrop and pulsing beat introduce My Sweet Beloved’s growling second single ‘Infernal Fires’ as the vocal cuts through with pin-point percision.
Dublin based band My Sweet Beloved have dropped their debut single The Invitation - a spine-chilling ballad full of mystique and passion.
Danielle Harrison Byrne, previously of Skindive, takes centre stage in this stunning track backed by musicians Derek Byrne (Autumn Owls), Anton Hegarty (Future Kings of Spain, A Lazarus Soul) and Dan Devlin (Moskowitz).
Danielle joined the band after returning from Los Angeles when Skindive split and said the process of putting together their forthcoming album was "painstaking yet precise."
She added it is the result of a “long journey that I am now able to fully appreciate.”
When that band fell apart Danielle remarks that she felt that she “a singer with no songs”, yet it spurned her to continue to find a new sound. And speaking of her new band mates, Danielle gushed: “When I heard Derek play for the first time I was blown away.
“He brought exactly what I had always wanted for the songs, which is a dreamy, haunting power. I had always known I wanted to play music with Anton, and Derek had always wanted to play music with Dan, whose background is in teaching drum corps percussion."
"Fortuitously, the two worlds came together. When I hear these guys play, I always think if I wasn't playing with them then I’d sure wish I was.”
While the band are delighted to finally be sharing their haunting debut track they like so many other musicians are devastated they cannot play live shows due to the coronavirus.
But the band “can't wait to play live shows again" in the future.
Steeped in reverberant atmospherics, the stark undercurrent of My Sweet Beloved’s ‘The Invitation’ makes for a foreboding backdrop for a captivating yet patient vocal performance.
Former Skindive singer Danielle Harrison Byrne rises like a phoenix from the flames with her new band My Sweet Beloved.
Alongside band members Derek Byrne, Anton Hegarty and Dan Devlin, Danielle creates a haunting soundscape that grips the listener from the first note on this first single from their forthcoming self-titled album.
The atmospheric nocturnal video is by Laura Sheeran and Danielle.
Nick says: Invitation accepted.
'The Invitation' is the first single from the band's upcoming self-titled debut album.
Dublin-based band My Sweet Beloved have released the video for their atmospheric debut single, 'The Invitation'.
Filmed in Dublin by Laura Sheeran with art direction and editing by Danielle Harrison Byrne, the visuals to accompany the dark track explore an unconventional love story in a brooding, candlelit setting.
The single is the first track taken from their upcoming self-titled debut album, and sees My Sweet Beloved merge an intense fever dream with sultry musical backing for a strong introduction to the music scene.
The song and album are the products of months of artistic endeavour, with each band member encapsulating their own, unique experiences from other groups in the past.
Danielle Harrison Byrne, formerly of the band Skindive, shines with music created by musicians Derek Byrne (Autumn Owls), Anton Hegarty (Future Kings of Spain, A Lazarus Soul) and Dan Devlin (Moskowitz).
Danielle arrived in Dublin from Los Angeles specifically to join Skindive, but she was “a singer with no songs” when the band fell apart - in her own words.
Determined to match her vocal talent with songwriting, Danielle described the forthcoming album as the result of a “long journey that I am now able to fully appreciate.”
With producer/musician Les Keye, Danielle produced and mixed the new album to fit her vision of what she wanted, paralleled with what her My Sweet Beloved bandmates could ultimately deliver.
Watch the sombre video for 'The Invitation' on mysweetbeloved.com