GARETH DUNLOP // ANIMAL // New Single – Out Now (Zenith Café/Membran)

new single
out now
(Zenith Café/Membran)

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included on
out 22.04.22

ANIMAL single

Belfast-based singer-songwriter Gareth Dunlop has just released the title track of his forthcoming new album, ‘Animal’, as a single. The surreal promo video for the song was inspired by an internal monologue about the hang-ups and oddities involved in the songwriting process, which Dunlop explains by stating that “a great piece of advice I once received was to ‘write like no-one will ever hear it.’ It tricks my brain into being more honest with myself than I normally would.”

The clip sees Dunlop walking among his furniture – sofas, beds and fireplaces – scattered in a secluded mountaintop forest. Video director Jamie Neish states: “The song carried a paradoxical quality to it but also had something that felt inherently tribalistic to me, and I guess there was a marriage of all those things to finish the storyboard. The physical scenario was bizarre, bringing living room and bedroom setups into the forest – but it’s a rare chance to make something unusual seem usual, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”

GARETH DUNLOP : photo by Daniel Morton

ANIMAL album

Singer-songwriter and producer Gareth Dunlop was fortunate enough to remain a busy man during the global pandemic. Having established Sycamore Studios in Belfast just prior to lockdown, he was subsequently in a position to record not only his own long-awaited second album, ‘Animal’, but also produce new records by friends and fellow Northern Irish musicians Foy Vance (‘Signs Of Life’, 2021) and Lee Rogers (‘Gameblood’, out spring 2022).

‘Animal’ consists of a diverse set of songs that include the soulful and anthemic ‘Right About Ready’ and ‘Look Back Smiling’, which evoke the ‘80s yet exude a timeless quality, the atmospheric ‘Sorrow’ and ‘Prisoner Of My Past’, which both channel late period Roxy Music, the laid-back ‘60s dream pop vibe of ‘Humans’, plus a memorable title song that adds an electronic bounce to its subtle groove.

Dunlop, Vance and Rogers will be on tour together in the UK and Ireland at the end of the summer, with confirmed shows as follows:

30.08.22  YORK Barbican
31.08.22  MANCHESTER Albert Hall
01.09.22  EDINBURGH Queen’s Hall
03.09.22  LONDON Eventim Apollo
04.09.22  BIRMINGHAM Alexandra Theatre
05.09.22  DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
07.09.22  CORK Cyprus Avenue
09.09.22  BELFAST SSE Arena

Vance will headline all dates, with Dunlop on additional duty as a member of his band. A US tour beforehand will take up the entirety of May.


Gareth Dunlop has been recognised as an accomplished talent ever since the BBC tipped him as ‘one to watch’ in 2010 when he was not long out of his teens. In the decade since he has released several singles, a handful of EPs and one album that have been musically eclectic yet have all showcased his highly soulful voice, with several of his songs going on to be used in the hit TV series ‘Nashville’, other shows (‘Lucifer’, ‘This Is Us’, Bones’, ‘Suits’), movies (‘The Best Of Me’, ‘Safe Haven’) and commercials (Disney, Subaru). He also has songwriting credits for recordings by a wide range of stars that include T.I., Tim McGraw & Faith Hill and John Oates.

However, prior to the 2020 lockdown, Dunlop was just as likely to be heard by live audiences as he forged a reputation as a magnetic and charismatic performer on frequent headlining tours and support slots to the likes of Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, Snow Patrol and James Morrison. Reviewing one of his shows, Gigslutz stated that “Dunlop has the kind of voice that can still a room with its vulnerability, the meaning behind the words heartfelt, the emotion real”, while Maximum Volume Music succinctly described it as “instantly memorable”.

In his home territory, the Irish News praised Dunlop for his “distinctive croon and ear for sharp melodic/lyrical hooks”, while local website ChordBlossom declared him to be “one of the greatest talents to come out of Northern Ireland”, a sentiment only slightly qualified by National Rock Review who stated that he is “arguably one of Northern Ireland’s greatest singer/songwriters from the past decade”.

Inspired by icons such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Waits, plus a soupçon of Pink Floyd, Dunlop picked up a guitar aged 14 and soon began performing covers and original songs in live venues around Northern Ireland, RoI and the rest of the UK. In 2011 he won a Young Songwriter of the Year award in Belfast that not only earned him an invite to collaborate with seasoned writers in Nashville, an experience he has repeated many times since, but it also enabled him to tour the US extensively.

Having spent so long away from Belfast following his initial breakthrough, Dunlop decided to record and co-produce his 2017 debut album, ‘No. 79’, in stripped-back fashion at home – literally – with Nashville based writer Bobby Hamrick and compatriot Alastair McMillan, who had also recorded Dunlop’s first studio sessions at Dublin’s esteemed Windmill Lane and has engineered for U2, The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison. A winning fusion of folk and soul, the album earned critical acclaim and was playlisted on several Irish and UK radio stations, while in RoI it earned an Album of the Week slot on the prestigious RTE1.

GARETH DUNLOP : photo by Jamie Neish