Sunday Independent Article

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Sunday October 19 2008

They are fairly lively, these two young men. In fact, the synergy between Eoin and Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin on North Great George's Street, Dublin, on Friday puts you in mind of Simon & Garfunkel or Steely Dan unplugged. Or even a harmonic early Sixties Mick and Keith undrugged.

The sons of acclaimed Irish musicians and singers Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Nóirín Ní Riain, Eoin and Mícheál (he calls himself Moley from The Wind in The Willows) play as size2shoes. Their acoustic performance at the Cobalt Cafe was a revelation of note-perfect harmonies (Temper Temper among them) and improvisation (Moley does Snoop Dogg in a Limerick accent while Eoin does an angsty Nick Drake).

Galway chanteuse Julie Feeney, whose new album will be out next February, joined the brothers on stage for a mesmeric and dreamlike Celtic hymn that owed as much to Van Morrison in his meditative mode as it did to the spirit world.

After the swooping vocal dynamics of their show, Eoin and Moley unwound over a drink with yours truly. Moley waxed lyrical about being Ireland's foremost academic in rap performance practice in the south west of Ireland. (He has an MA in ethno-musicology at UL.)

He listened to a lot of gangsta rap in the dormitories of boarding school while his older brother Eoin started writing in troubadour guitar style. "We combined our creative forces to form size2shoes in 2002," says Eoin adding that they have just recorded a self-titled album on the label that their father created.

Eoin says that size2shoes was inspired by "an American girl that Moley was kind of seeing and she was very small".

"She was one inch off being a dwarf," Moley says. "We never got beyond the kissing. I didn't want to unleash the madness!"

Speaking of madness, movie star Russell Crowe played with them in a pub in Limerick two years ago.

After the show they became firm friends over strong spirits. They were supposed to reconvene in Los Angeles but Moley somehow "got the dates wrong".

Russell blanked out a few days off American Gangster, remembers Moley, "so he could go on the piss with us for the weekend and he said he would get some creative types to come with him and we would all hang out together.

"So he rang us to tell us he was staying as Mr Black in the Presidential Suite in the Beverly Hills Hilton. We had to tell him that we were still in Ireland. 'Oh, I better call off the troops then.' We haven't spoken to him since."

- Barry Egan