Despite the unavoidable similarity to Sinéad O’Connor, singer-songwriter Sinéad Lohan creates a brand of music decidedly different than O’Connor’s. Both have remarkable voices and leave traces of their Irish influences in their music, but Lohan is a much more subdued player, relying more on her ability to write infectious melodies than being the vocal powerhouse.
Lohan’s music was first heard on A Woman’s Heart 2, a compilation of songs from female Celtic singers. From it, Lohan’s ‘Sailing By’ was featured, and it seems that song alone is responsible for igniting her career.
Lohan’s debut album, Who Do You Think I Am, arrived in 1995 and featured twelve largely acoustic tracks which made Lohan a star in her native Ireland.
‘Bee In A Bottle’ opened the album and is a great example of the record’s overall feel. Featured here is a live recording performed at Schubas for 93 WXRT Radio in Chicago.
Who Do You Think I Am was adored by Irish fans and quickly sprung up the charts. Remarkably, the album would go platinum in five months.
After the unexpected success of her debut, the United States received its first taste of Lohan’s music in the form of her second album, No Mermaid in 1998.
Starkly different than her debut in terms of its production, No Mermaid was recorded in New Orleans with Malcolm Burn (Shawn Colvin, John Mellencamp) and benefitted largely from steady airplay and tours with Joan Baez and Sarah McLachlan‘s Lilith Fair.
‘Hot On Your Trail’ follows an almost hypnotic formula, as does much of Lohan’s songs, with its hushed percussion and mechanical filtering. But Lohan’s soft, but crystal-clear voice is the focal point, consistently lifting it from being stale. Eerily haunting, the song begins with Lohan singing: “Hot on your trail, blood is red / Get on your high horse out of here / If they catch me I’m dead / Get on your high horse out of here.”
The title track is also a stand-out which will easily become a favorite to a new listener. Apparently themed around independence and breaking free of inhibitions, the song is incredibly visual in its lyrics alone: “We were dancing in the middle of the desert / You said we’ll burn under the hot sun / I said I’d rather be the color of pleasure / Than watch like you from under the thumb.”
Since its release Lohan has laid low, focusing more on her family than her music career. Her last known release stateside was her contribution to the film Anywhere But Here which featured ‘Everything Around Me Is Changing.’ Her official website (which sadly hasn’t been updated in years) features a note written by Sinead which mentions that she is writing material for her next album. That was dated in January of 2000.
Honestly, there isn’t a single song that is lacking on No Mermaid. Actually, I found it rather difficult to just choose the songs I’ve ultimately decided upon. Lohan’s No Mermaid is one of those albums that remains a treasured gem in my vast collection. Should she never release another record, I’d be happy just for the fact that she recorded this record.