Entries for October 2009

Articles

31
Cluas Snapshot: The Antlers’ second album is different. It’s a concept. The theme is tragic and complicated. It’s also phenomenally engaging musically and while one of the most difficult it’s also one of the interesting albums you’re likely to hear this year. The Cluas Verdict? 8/10 Full Review: Hospice tells the story from Prologue to Epilogue of a couple’s journey through terminal illness, struggle, regret and grief amongst other things. It’s heavy. It’s very heavy in fact. The record opens with the grey overtone “Prologue” and even from this early stage, it’s clear the album could serve as a soundtrack for a movie. In fact a movie could be written using the story of the album. It slides gently into “Kettering”. The song describes one partner finding the other filled with tubes in a cancer ward. The “morphine alarms” sing and keep her sleeping. It narrates the anger felt by the patient t... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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26
Yes Cadets
I recently caught up with up and coming Belfast electro pop foursome Yes Cadets prior to their performance at the HWCH festival in Dublin. Yes Cadets were only formed last summer but in a short space of time have been causing quite a stir. A single, EP and an Oxygen performance later as well as wide spread airplay sees their star in the ascendance. Here is what they had to say.   You guys formed over last year, were you friends before? How did you come up with the concept of the band? We’ve all known each other for a good while, meeting initially a couple of years ago in the murky underbelly of the Belfast music scene. It was only last year that we decided to form the band that we always wanted to be in and to play the music we always wanted to play.    Why the obsession with Canada?     Well, it’s only really an obsession when it comes to Canadian rock music. Bands like Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire and Tokyo Police... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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21
A review of the album 'Post Electric Blues' by Idlewild Review Snapshot: One could be forgiven for thinking that this latest offering portrays Idlewild growing old gracefully, but realistically this is the sound of a band who are trying to reinvent themselves. It doesn’t come close to the indie rock genius of the “The Remote Part” and the happy-go-lucky “Make Another World”, or the intrigue of the confused “Warnings/Promises”, but rather depends on several different influences to produce a fresh sound. Does it work? Yes, but only just.  The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: As the album opens with “Younger Than America”, you instantly notice this is truly & recognisably Idlewild, a vicariously riffed tune, and one that will once again accuse them of being, albeit in a good way, influenced by REM circa the Document era. Add to that, an effective backing vocal by our own Heidi Talbot (who aided and abetted Roddy Woomble’s 2006 solo country-ish effort “Secret Of My Silence” to ma... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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20
Mumford & Sons 'Sigh No More'
A review of the album 'Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons Review Snapshot: This London folk foursome presented their first album, 'Sigh No More', at the beginning of this month, following in the footsteps of the contemporary Noah and the Whale, and echoing the forlorn vocals of Neil Young. Mumford & Sons' unique brand of indie-folk, with edgy lyrics and widely varied music, will not be everyone's favourite, but for the more eclectic, this is an absolutely brilliant debut from a promising band.  The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: I readily confess that I’m not a huge fan of folk music. I’ve never really considered the banjo as a serious instrument, and had someone asked me what I thought of the genre, I would have raised an eyebrow and said that I wasn’t that into it. I was surprised, then, by this album, which I immediately liked. It mixes traditional-sounding introductions with thunderous climaxes, replete with ro... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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19
The Swell Season 'Strict Joy'
A review of the album Strict Joy by The Swell Season Review Snapshot:  At times underwhelming and familiar, 'Strict Joy' brings nothing new to the table and deals with much of the same subject matter as The Swell Season's previous albums. While people who were already fans will probably find this album enjoyable it did very little to grab the attention of this reviewer's ears. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review:  Since the success of 2007's 'Once' Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, aka The Swell Season, who both starred in the film and composed the soundtrack, have become highly regarded members of the Irish music scene. Hansard, portraying a struggling busker on Dublin's Grafton Street, and Irglová his love interest and a fellow musician in 'Once', raised their profile considerably and garnered much international attention, particularly in America. Their Oscar winning track from the 'Onc... [Read on]
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17
Day Two Hard Working Class Heroes 2009
Oliver Cole, Escape Act & Others (live in Temple Bar, Dublin) Review Snapshot:  Day two of Hard Working Class Heroes involved quite a bit of venue shifting but was all the better for it.  The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: Thankfully, my leg felt a great deal better and so venue-hopping was not going to be as much of a problem as it was on Day One of Hard Working Class Heroes 2009.   Oliver Cole - The Button Factory Oliver Cole certainly knows how to write a tune.  Tonight, Cole's set consists of songs taken from his yet to be released debut solo LP such as Little Bad Dream, A Drug Song and, the title track, We Albatri.  His ear for melody is second to none and it would be impossible to watch an Oliver Cole gig without wanting to sing-a-long and tap your foot.  That being said,  it was such a shame that Cole was on so early as his stage presence and interaction with the crowd is much more suited to late... [Read on]
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17
Hard Working Class Heroes 2009 Day 1
Villagers, The Ambience Affair & Others (live in Temple Bar, Dublin) Review Snapshot:   The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: While my intention had been to make my way between various venues during the first day of Hard Working Class Heroes 2009, a strained muscle (one week before my first marathon) meant that I was restricted in my endeavours.  It was clear early on that the place to be was Andrew's Lane which featured three of the four bands I really wanted to see tonight anyway.  While it was disappointing not to be able to see Dark Room Notes' set in The Button Factory, the intensity of Subplots and the raw talent of both The Ambience Affair and Villagers more than made up for it. Subplots There was quite a chatty crowd in place as Subplots took to the stage in Andrew's Lane.  The band's record, Nightcycles, is one of my favourites this year.  However, I was worried that their carefully crafted... [Read on]
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16
Joshua Radin (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: It was always going to be interesting to see if Radin’s quiet yet absorbing melodies along with his whispery vocals could translate well to the stage. Unexpectedly but brilliantly, it transcended into an appreciated and intimate gig as you could hope to see, in a criminally underrated venue.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Like many others, I discovered Joshua Radin’s music playing in the background of the more touching scenes in the TV show Scrubs. (Hey, good music can be found anywhere, right?) And good music is exactly what I found; some say the answer to Elliott Smith’s sad departure in 2003. But Radin is a breath of fresh air on his own with an addictive folk ethic on debut album “We Were Here” which is now improved by a pop-rock element on his more recent release “Simple Times”. It was quite a happy coincidence recently getting hooked on his music ... [Read on]
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16
Pearl Jam 'Backspacer'
A review of the album Backspacer by Pearl Jam Review Snapshot: If you want the smooth waves of the surf, some rocking little riffs and more fine songwriting from Eddie Vedder, then Backspacer is for you. Die-hard fans like myself ought not to be disappointed.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: What's not to like about Eddie Vedder? Surfer, writer, and a mysterious creature that puts forth his vision of the world with a voice that has only grown better with age. More importantly, Vedder is the iconic figure in Pearl Jam, the Seattle rock band that survived the 90s and have become enriched as the group continues to play to sold-out venues. Backspacer represents a mellowing of the group, with lyrics that reflect a more relaxed Vedder. As if to prove this, the album bursts forth not with the heady rushes of a track like 'Go' , but rather with a Johnny B. Goode style blues riff on 'Gonna See My Friend.' This slice of home-grown Amer... [Read on]
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16
Fnessnej 'Stay Fresh, Ey'
A review of the album Stay Fresh, Ey by Fnessnej Review Snapshot: A compelling collage of sounds from a German five-piece whose name is almost impossible to pronounce. Part chip-tune, part post-rock, Stay Fresh, Ey is a playful album that offers new delights on each listen. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: Some song titles aren't made for memory. '1360280' is a fine example of this. But then when the artist's name appears equally scrambled, it all starts to make sense. Whisking together seemingly incongruent flavours is a speciality of Fnessnej. The quintet's music is self-described on their website as 'instrumental postkutsche rocknroll elektroge frikkelballer post blahabblaha'. Quite the mouthful. Fnessnej are masters of blending bleeps and ticks, rock riffs, synth sounds and syncopated drumming on a rich palate of musical fervour. The album's first track 'Duplex Knaller' begins playfully, with four short clownlike... [Read on]
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