Entries for November 2008

Articles

25
Tindersticks (live in Dublin)
Tindersticks (live in Vicar Street, Dublin) Review Snapshot:  At a time of year when the ‘Best album’ gongs and baubles are being handed out, tonight’s impeccable performance serves as a reminder that ‘The Hungry Saw’ is as good as any record released this calendar year. It also served notice of Tindersticks’ return to form as a compelling live act. The Cluas Verdict?  9.5 out of 10 Full Review: It has been a remarkable year for Tindersticks. Rumours of the band’s demise had seemingly been concretized once Stuart Staples embarked upon his own solo career – in the process releasing the quite wonderful ‘Leaving Songs’ – whilst in-band politics rendered it impossible for them to remain as they once were. Exit Dickon Hinchcliffe - to concentrate on film scores - and enter a new era for the band.   The evening begins, appropriately enough, with ‘Introduction’ – the first sound... [Read on]
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
15
Okkervil River (live in Dublin)
Okkervil River (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot:  Their second visit to these shores in under twelve months sees Okkervil River battle with The Academy’s all too obvious limitations yet still produce a set which cements their reputation for a compelling live show. The Cluas Verdict?  9 out of 10  Full Review: Okkervil River are the band you haven‘t allowed yourself to love. Yet. Their continued existence – indeed, their present flourishing - is grounded upon their fan base’s affection for the band’s fascination with life in a band (particularly on their two most recent albums), nascent fame and all of its associated tawdriness. This co-existence is neatly played out tonight when the opening chords of ‘Pop Lie’ begin - the crowd shamelessly echoing Will Sheff as he sings: “He’s the liar who lied in his pop song, and you’re lying when you sing along.” The irony is, perhaps, lost o... [Read on]
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
14
Aimee Mann (live in Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: An occasionally shambolic but enjoyable night, culminating with a great set from one of the best American songwriters in the world today. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The evening started off with Los Angeles husband and wife team The Submarines, who I knew nothing about before tonight but proved to be a pleasant discovery. It wasn’t hard to see why Aimee Mann picked them to support her on her current tour, as their music is precisely the same kind of catchy melodic rock that the likes of Crowded House, Squeeze and Aimee Mann do so well. The couple, with a drummer filling out their sound, powered through a hook-laden set that impressed me enough to pick up one of their albums at the merchandise box afterwards. Next up was Sharon Shannon’s Big Band, who lived up to their name with ten of them cramming on to Tripod’s stage. Not being a great fan of Irish trad I had planned on skipping ... [Read on]
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
13
Neon Neon (live in Tripod, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Side-projects are so hot right now, but these guys are just cool. Neon Neon is a conglomerate of decidedly super-ferrite animals, and they transported the Tripod crowd through an audio-visual interpretation of John DeLorean’s life with the same frenzy in which he lived it. DeLorean’s car was the pièce de résistance in Back To The Future trilogy, and over 20 years on Neon Neon are still making the DeLorean past seem like the future. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: I think the term juxtaposition applies here: Neon Neon is a collaborative project from producer Boom Bip and Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys - amongst others - entirely devoted to Detroit-born engineer and entrepreneur John DeLorean and the “dream” car he produced near Belfast primarily for the American market. Hmmm.... Whilst The Good, The Bad and The Queen had their Dickensian, urbane merits... [Read on]
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
10
A review of the album 'I Never Thought This Day Would Come' by Duke Special Review Snapshot: While never consistently matching the dizzy heights of previous album 'Songs From The Deep Forest', Peter Wilson still makes a convincing tilt at the title of Ireland's Best Songwriter. A few Duke-Special-by-numbers numbers aside, mostly collaborations, his new album contains more of the same catchy, heartfelt piano-pop with which he's now synonymous. A consolidation, then. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Not to burden the new Duke Special album with impossible expectations or anything, but Peter Wilson’s previous long-player, ‘Songs From The Deep Forest’, was simply astounding. Bursting with baroque ambition, soaring joy, searing heartache, witty poetry, warm sincerity and catchy tunes, it’ll soon be permanently camped on the upper slopes of Mount Best Irish Album Ever. (If not, it’ll be because of the drip... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
10
Mercury Rev (live in Galway)
Mercury Rev (live in Róisín Dubh, Galway) Review Snapshot: With their recorded output of late suggesting the band have lost their studio and creative focus, their current tour is a litmus test of whether they still have the live presence to carry what is, after all, a largely stunning back catalogue. The intimate confines of Róisín’s suggested – in parts – that they haven’t and they won’t. The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: For all of the diminishing returns in the studio in recent years, Mercury Rev have always been an eminently bankable live act. Live, their songs have been free to breathe, far away from studio excesses and overproduction. One of the most intriguing prospects prior to this show was how they would transform 2008’s disappointing ‘Snowflake Midnight’ into the live arena. The results are unconvincing, with the notable exception of ‘Senses on Fire’ w... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Galway
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
09
Rodrigo y Gabriela 'Live in Japan'
A review of the album 'Live in Japan'  by Rodrigo y Gabriela Review Snapshot: The live CD may come across as canned, but watching the DVD really brings back some beautiful recollections of watching Rodrigo and Gabriela perform live. This is really worth buying if you're a budding Spanish-guitarist or want to look at just how passionate and measured Rod 'n' Gab still are about their music. Not groundbreaking as an album, but enjoyable as a memory.  The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: The smell of Nag Champa will forever remind me of my first Rod 'n' Gab gig in NUI Maynooth, in, as far as I can remember, 2002. It cost a mere €2 to get in, yet there were only about twenty-five unsuspecting students surrounding the make-shift stage in the centre of the Student's Union venue. Gabriela was gorgeous, Rodrigo's hair intrigued me, and every member of the audience who'd ever picked up a guitar felt intimidated by... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)
09
Joan as Police Woman 'To Survive'
A review of the album 'To Survive' by Joan as Police Woman Review Snapshot: Joan Wasser has musical smarts to die for but they're not that evident on "To survive". Never was the phrase "difficult second album" more appropriate. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: Joan as Policewoman – she’s got impeccable credentials. Joan Wasser’s top of the table material. She’s in with the In Crowd, she goes where the In Crowd go. She has the look too, the kooky side of well groomed, the hooded noughties eye and a vague sense of mystery. She’s multi instrumental – as my departed old man would say, she plays everything but the linoleum. God’s sakes, BBC even asked her to contribute to a radio documentary about Shostakovich.   The artwork on “To survive”, her second solo album, sees Joan in monochrome, staring into some self absorbed middle distance. She’s bare shouldered and myst... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
Actions: E-mail | Comments (0)