I'm going to say something about this album if it kills me.
If this was a decade ago I would be sitting knee deep in balls of crumbled paper.
Each little ball mainly white, but with words and partial phrases peaking darkly out from the ragged folds around the surface.
It's not a decade ago though, so instead I've sent file after file to the recycle bin and emptied it often.
The problem is that it's so good that it is deserving of more than what I have previously come up with.
So good that nothing that I have written has come close to touching on how satisfying the album is in its totality.
It's easy to write that something is good, or even bad.
Keeping it simple like that offers no challenge, but trying to explain why it is good, trying to convey how special something sounds can be a problem.
It's far harder than most people appreciate.
So here I am again.
Sitting in front of what was a blank screen and just trying to let the words flow out and hopefully something will come if I don't try to hard.
Maybe if I don't over-think it and let my brain guide my fingers semi-consciously something of worth with appear.
First I suppose I should mention that Carry the Torch is a concept album, a loose concept album.
Each song has its roots in the writing of Hunter S Thompson and that's where the genius - that over used word - starts to reveal itself.
There's that germ of an idea that has been watered and cared for by Paul McGranaghan until it has flowered into something that could take your breath away.
He has then done that with each and every song.
Consider them all as flowers.
Each independently beautiful in its uniqueness, and then when you take a step back there a flowerbed in front of you that's a riot of colour.
Each stalk bends in a different direction, they all catch the sun and hold it's rays differently across the breadth of a petal, and on one level there appears to be nothing that could allow them to sit comfortably together, but they do.
Beautiful singularly and equally inspiring as a whole.
That's Carry the Torch right there.
Every single song is unique in itself and all together the different styles of music, lyrical inflection and even the content probably shouldn't work, but it does.
It's sounds like a pattern in the anarchic flow of a snow storm being seen.
There's a bit seventies rock sound that keeps revealing itself in so many ways. Some rock and roll Bolan, some prog Floyd, a bit of Zep, yet it's not really a rock album in the true sense of the word. For every solid riff and guitar solo there's some glorious pop moments and acoustic led ensemble pieces that are just as excitingly compelling.
The main thing that I can't seem to wrap my head around is that this is the debut album from Paul McGranaghan.
This sounds like an album from a artist who has been slowly working towards being able to express himself over many releases.
The album that critics would step forward and proclaim as the pinnacle of the artists achievements.
It's my album of the year in a year that has been heavy with fantastic releases, and it's not just scraping in at the number one spot.
It's way out there on it's own standing proudly catching its breath while everyone else is still running towards the finish line.
Even now I'm reading this back to myself and thinking it's still not really conveying just how good it really is.