Entries for October 2007

Articles

18
Broken Social Scene Presents... Kevin Drew (live in Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: With a blistering new album and a back catalogue of modest repute to boot, Kevin Drew must find it hard not impressing audiences. Here with BSS aficionados Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, plus members of American Analogue Set and Treble Charger, the capacity Tripod is gradually stirred from any ideas of a relaxing Sunday evening. The Cluas Verdict? 8.8 out of 10 Full Review: Starting off slowly with an acoustic rendition of Gangbang Suicide, Drew gave a slow greeting until the drums kicked in with a controlled ferocity by Peroff. Things gradually picked up as Drew knocked the complementary booze back. Introducing the audience to his so-called solo work with Tbtf, F--ked Up Kids, Lucky Ones, Frightening Lives and the quite magnificent single Backed out on the…, it’s hard to find any defined distinction in the general sound from Broken Social Scene. That is of cour... [Read on]
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13
Mos Def (live in the Village, Dublin) Review Snapshot: With technical difficulties and a delayed start, Mos Def needed to win over the impatient crowd in a big way. Unfortunately, due to the patchy nature of his set, this didn't happen and ultimately made for a disappointing gig. The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: 9pm: I've been standing here, waiting for Mos Def to arrive, for so long that I'm expecting three Mos Def's to come along at once. I am a sweaty member of an impatient crowd waiting for things to kick off. According to our tickets, the gig is from 8-11pm, so most of us arrived about an hour ago. Three hours seemed an unlikely duration for a hiphop gig, so I was expecting a support act or at least a DJ set before Mos Def's appearance. Instead, for the past hour they've been playing what sounds like a brass band/hip-hop mix-tape over the soundsystem. It was vaguely distracting for the first half an hour but now I'm tr... [Read on]
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11
Feist (live in Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: After months of anticipation Miss Leslie Feist finally arrives to an overheated and cramped, but extremely expectant audience. Was it worth the wait? Only if Canadians make consistently bad music... (that's a yes). The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: Showing magnificent control over her wonderfully dry vocals, Feist hits Dublin with a bang and a banjo on a viciously cold Tuesday night. Unfortunately the sold out crowd turn Tripod into a sauna of sorts. I get the feeling that if this was a London show the guest list would be populated with names more suited to gossip pages. With a natural confidence and a gifted band that are three quarters siblings, she glides through the set with banter and audience choral experiments. After giving excuses as to why this is her first Irish gig, she belts through a set consisting mainly of Let it Die and the superior The Reminder. Of the many highlights of the evening the t... [Read on]
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11
Battles (live in the Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: New York avant-garde tech-metallers Battles touch down in Ireland for the second time this year. Dublin rock-venue/sauna Tripod is jammed with Battles devotees. I'm yet to be convinced. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: Is it possible to be overawed at the musical skills of a band while still remaining curiously unmoved? It's an odd conundrum I grapple with throughout Battles' math-rock experimentalism in an oven-hot Tripod. About half of the time, I simply marvel at the musical dexterity on display from the New York quartet. Former Helmet drummer John Stanier's frighteningly precise drumming is something to behold. He looks as if he is doing a particularly strenuous workout session rather than keeping time on his kit. A strange looking kit, it must be noted- a no-frills, minimalist set-up- and only Stanier knows why he has a single, standalone cymbal standing about four feet abo... [Read on]
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08
Review Snapshot: Atmospheric chillout electronica that's chilled out to the point of being boring, and which also sounds like no more than the sum of its influences (Sigur Ros, David Sylvian). Gemma Hayes pops in to sing a track. The CLUAS Verdict: 5 out of 10 Full Review: Chris Hufford, the man behind Anti-Atlas, is Radiohead's manager. He is also part of the management team of that other famous (and, for this reviewer at least, more enjoyable) Oxford band, Supergrass. 'Between Voices' sounds nothing like either band. It's a chillout album of lush strings, ambient layers and easy-on-the-ear female singers - including Lady Marmalade-Voice of Ballyporeen herself, Gemma Hayes (also managed by Hufford), on 'It's A Shame'. To add a Sigur Ros-style chilly atmosphere (as Radiohead sometimes do) there are plenty of Scandinavian and Icelandic contributions: for instance, Norwegian singer-songer Kristin Fjellse... [Read on]
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05
Review Snapshot: A band living off an old song and a stale image, Alabama 3 hit the photocopy button one more time. Bland songs plastered in cliched sounds; the only refreshing thing is the unintentional honesty of the album title. Someone, put a cap in their ass. The CLUAS Verdict? 2 out of 10 Full Review: After eight years, Alabama 3 are still trading on their debut album, 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane'. That 'Sopranos' theme, 'Woke Up This Morning', was its best-known song and on the basis of their tired new album they'll be depending on that old track for a long time yet. The album's name is meant to be ironic but, as usually happens when a band jokes about sounding uncool, is completely accurate. The title track of sorts, 'Middle Of The Road', pays tribute to The Eagles. By this we mean that the lyrics are about The Eagles and the music sounds like The Eagles too (to be specific, 'Take It Easy'). Hardly the stuff of th... [Read on]
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02
Review Snapshot: An ambitious 'organic dance' album that lets itself down with bad production, outdated dancefloor sounds and a basic misunderstanding of what an eclectic record should sound like.  The CLUAS Verdict: 4 out of 10 Full Review: Straight outta Cornwall, Rairbirds have been active in the UK for most of the last decade with their brand of organic dance - no samples, just live instrumentation. Unfortunately, this long-time-coming first album has all the hallmarks of being sat on and fiddled with for too long. Fair play to them, it must be said, for their ambition in gathering a variety of sounds and influences: dancefloor-fillers, jazz-style workouts and late sixties rock (including a cover of Dylan's 'It's Alright Ma I'm Only Bleeding') are all thrown in there. However, there's a basic conceptual flaw with this record: as can be clearly heard on 'Unknown', these different sounds are just stuck together like ... [Read on]
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01
Josh Ritter 'The Historical Conquests Of'
Review Snapshot: He may be a shining light in an overcrowded Irish singer-songwriter scene, but this album finds Josh Ritter failing to take the leap forward that his fans might have hoped for. Though there are certainly enough moments to suggest that he may make a record to deserve the increased attention he is receiving in the US, too many average songs ensure that this record is not it. The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10 Full Review:  The last couple of years have been a series of ups and downs for Idaho native Josh Ritter. His last album, The Animal Years, which saw him tackle the political situation in the US, moved him further up the ranks in the Irish singer-songwriter scene into which he has been adopted, as well as coming to the attention of the likes of Bruce Springsteen. Unfortunately, the very night he performed on the Letterman Show to promote that album his label, V2, collapsed, leaving him to evaluate his next move. The Historical Conquests Of finds... [Read on]
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01
Levy 'Glorious'
Review Snapshot: This melodically ambitious record from former anti-folker shows plenty of scope in relation to the presentation of the songs, yet is let down by repetition of production techniques. Despite this 'Glorious' shows plenty of promise. The CLUAS Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: "Always look on the bright side of life", the Monty Python crew advised on their wonderfully upbeat ditty, words that New York's James Levy appears to have taken to heart on his new album. Though his day job may be filling out burial forms for Jewish cemeteries, Levy maintains a positive outlook, as evidenced by the title track which opens the record. "God bless the world, it's glorious" goes the chorus and as an opening statement of intent it's pretty impressive; full of strings, jangly guitars and an 80s style sheen which veers towards the epic. While he may have made his name as part of the anti-folk movement (Moldy Peaches et al) Levy ste... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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