Before a global pandemic suffocated the concept of an international lifestyle, artists frequently had to navigate the often-complex problems arising out of maintaining long-distance relationships. As the title suggests, this struggle is at the very heart of ‘Time Difference’, the latest single from Dublin-based singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy.
Initially steady, the track’s rhythm sharply emphasises feelings of boredom and loneliness; Reddy almost mumbles into a chorus barely distinct from the single’s verses. The out-of-sync lifestyle which comes with touring means that for Reddy, life happens while she sleeps. At first, however, frustrating as it is, keeping an eye on the time difference provides something real to grasp on to. Yet, as the song draws out and punchy drum-beats are replaced by slowing piano and guitar chords, it is evident that “phone calls are never enough”. The result is a well-constructed narrative of the trickiness found in coming to terms with reality. Musical success and fruitful relationships unfortunately don’t always go hand-in-hand.
This is clearly an understanding which comes from experience. Life as a touring artist is something Reddy has been faced with for a while, having been releasing music since 2016. With a debut album in the works, the Dublin-based artist finds herself amongst a bubbling Irish indie music scene. At home on playlists with the likes of SOAK, Reddy’s Irish lilt – not dissimilar at times to former Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan – shows itself in occasional glimpses.
Ultimately, some sacrifices are worth making. Although ‘Time Difference’ might show Reddy to be grappling with the consequences of her career choices, the emerging artist can find reassurance in the fact that she’s producing some very good music, certain to find fans outside of the Emerald Isle.
Words by Adam Goldsmith