Originally from Dublin, although currently stopping off in Bordeaux on the way to his ultimate destination of Paris, Crumple is the indie-folk project of songwriter Donal Sweeney. Donal has spent most of his musical life in the background, recording other people’s records, writing songs for other people and playing double bass in various bands, including for Darren Hayman and Enderby’s Room. Back in 2018, he made the decision to step into the limelight, embracing Crumple as his own creative vehicle, an experience where, as he puts it, “the microphones point back at him and other people play in his band”. Currently building towards the release of his first EP since 2019’s Wax, today Donal is premiering his latest single, Soften.
The scene of Soften is set from the opening line, “what the hell is wrong with you?” The line served as the inspiration for much of the song that follows, as Donal explains, “the first line is one of those things you say to yourself in your inner monologue, but would sound ridiculous if you said it out loud at another person, so I thought it would be funny to stretch it out over a whole song”. The song becomes something of a mantra, a reminder to give yourself some slack and not beat yourself up over the small things, “just be at ease, be more at peace, if you don’t soften before you’re thirty, you will never get uncreased”.
Musically, it’s every bit as subtly beautiful as you’d expect from someone who has spent years learning to write and record before sharing their creations with the world. The arrangement is wonderfully undramatic throughout, the steady drive of the acoustic guitar, adorned with the more meandering lead guitar, swells of vocal harmonies and waves of rich string arrangements. The whole thing has a warmth and playfulness like a knowing wink that reassures you that everything’s going to work out for the best. There’s no more hiding in the shadows for Donal, Crumple’s music is ready to shine.
Crumple’s EP is out March 4th. For more information on Crumple visit https://crumple.bandcamp.com/