This album, of which a performance called “Look Behind You” is based around, is a highly personal memoir by Irish singer/songwriter Steafán Hanvey. Released in 2013, Nuclear Family is about life during troubled times and looking through different perspectives. There’s an essence of predictability: love, pain, confusion, anger, etc. – but that predictability is universal and works in the context of these songs.
“Look Behind You” is a collaboration between Hanvey and his father Bobbie (one of Ireland’s leading photographers) – telling a photo journalistic and aural history, thanks to the elder Hanvey’s pictures and interviews with Northern Ireland’s better known “celebrities”. It is a combination storytelling session/lecture and music performance that intertwine seamlessly. Songs from the album, like “Leaving What You Know”, “Back To You” and “Deep Blue Sea” are musical threads to this story of The Troubles (as they have always, painfully, been known).
It’s an oft-told and frequently angering story to listen to, but the Hanvey’s manage to make this a thoughtful and touching look back at a very dark place and time.