With Graffiti Tongue, Christy Moore eschews the multi-instrument arrangements of recent albums in favor of a simple, man-and-his-guitar approach which allows an undiluted focus on his crisp and sparing songwriting. It is perhaps his most mature and finely crafted record, with an incisive lyrical focus on politics and morality that is both compassionate and unflinching. The opening "Yellow Triangle," dedicated to Holocaust victims, is a powerful reflection on the perils of apathetic and isolationist thinking: "When they took the Bible students, rounded up the homosexuals, then they gathered up the immigrants and gypsies, I did not speak. Eventually they came for me and there was no one left to speak." The equally passionate "North and South (of the River)," written with U2's Bono and The Edge, is a plea for reconciliation and healing in war-torn Ireland. "On the Mainland" expresses Moore's outrage upon hearing a BBC newscast that referred to the Nobel Prize winning Irishman Seamus Heaney as "a British poet." On "Riding the High Stool" the songwriter almost seems to apologize for his political outspokenness, warning that "knowin' it all is a lonely place to be." No apology is necessary; Graffiti Tongue is the finest studio effort in years by one of the finest writers in Irish folk.
AllMusic Review by Evan Cater