Entries for February 2009

Articles

24
White Lies 'To Lose My Life'
A review of the album To Lose My Life by White Lies Review Snapshot: With echoes of Interpol, Echo and The Bunnymen, Editors and more White Lies emerge from the ashes of ‘Fear of Flying’ with a confident yet underwhelming debut. If they can just shake off the shadow of their influences their music will be all the better for it. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: So the country’s goosed, the Celtic Tiger’s ambling listlessly around a home for the bewildered and we’re all frantically padding out our mattresses with what few doubloons we’ve salvaged from the wreckage. If you turn to music at times like these either to wallow or to forget, then avoid this debut album from White Lies. You’ll find neither solace nor distraction just ten songs that all sound vaguely alike, derivative and dull. ‘To Lose My Life’ gets underway with what has the bare bones of a decent single. The thumping drum and bass lines of... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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23
Choice Music Prize nominees Halfset
Halfset are without doubt one of the least known of the Choice Music Prize nominees: a brief mention here, a support slot there... But with Another Way of Being There, the band's second album, and their pretty exciting blend of electronics and an unabashed dedication to experimentation, they began their dogged ascent from background to foreground in earnest. They answered a few Choice questions for Cluas... Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? We always take our time with music. Another Way of Being There was released three years after our first album Dramanalog came out and we did work on it pretty consistently over that three-year period. Over forty ideas were brought to the table. These were worked down to seventeen and from these ten were chosen for the album. The benefit of taking that time to make it is that it’s just as we want it to b... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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23
With Sea Saw, Lisa Hannigan has finally broken her last ties with Damien Rice and established herself as an artist worth watching. Her nomination for the Choice Music Prize is unneeded proof of her acceptance by critics as well as the listening public. She took a few minutes off from her US tour to answer some questions for Cluas... Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? I was working on it for about a year before recording, writing and arranging the songs and then rehearsing them with the band. We recorded it in two weeks in march in the cauldron. There were no snags really, it just took a bit of time to find the right people to work with.  Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? Absolutely, although I tried not to read too many reviews the response at the gigs was brilliant. Hearing a song on the rad... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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23
Carly Sings (live in La Bellevilloise, Paris) Review Snapshot: Despite incessant audience noise and diabolical sound problems, which she really should just put aside, Carly Sings pulls out a strong performance of fine material - including some promising new songs. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Tonight’s venue, a trendy music bar in the slightly bohemian 20th district of Paris, is full of lively punters out for a good time. For Carly Sings, this is bad news indeed. You see, La Bellevilloise is fashionable because its clientele like to hang out here and chat with friends while having live music in the background as sonic wallpaper. By the bar it’s standing room only, as packed and noisy as a Friday evening train station. The disinterested audience din is overwhelming, quite possibly the loudest we’ve ever heard at a concert. More used to dedicated Dublin listeners, Carly Blackman is up against it tonight. You’d hardly ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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22
Choice Music Prize nominee Rarely Seen Above Ground
Going from drummer to solo artist is an unusual career change, but as Organic Sampler proves, Jeremy Hickey has found his niche. A fresh focus on the groove rather than the details, without ever letting those slide, has led to Rarely Seen Above Ground nominated for this year’s Choice Music Prize. He answered a few questions for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? The double album in all took about 3 years. I recorded it back to back. The bonus disc first and then Organic Sampler. The only snag I hit along the way was when it came to recording drums. I recorded a lot of the drums in my home studio. The space was very small and it seemed to take a bit of time. Then I recorded all the drums again in a studio in Dublin in one day. I then had to choose which ones were the best takes not for sound quality but for suitability for the mood o... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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22
Messiah J and the Expert's place in Irish music is almost unique. A rapper/producer duo that has found equal adoration among die-hard rockers and indie kids alike. 2008 seems to have been their year, and their album From the Word Go has been nominated for the Choice Music Prize. They answered a few questions for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? The Expert: First up, I wouldn't change a thing with this record as it's the best piece of work we've ever done. We definitely hit a few snags -  as I'm sure all bands do - but no major ones, just things we thought were going to work but didn't, so we had to adapt; like strings not working on a song etc. We worked on it for the bulk of 2 years and was definitely the most difficult album we've made so far. We spent an awful lot of time writing and writing, scrappping bi... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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22
Choice Music Prize nominee Jape
Richard Egan, a.k.a. Jape, has been a staple on this ol' "scene" of ours for quite a while now, producing record after record of quality, often disparate, material. This year sees the nomination of last year's Ritual album for the Choice Music Prize. He answered a few questions (with characteristically few words) on the album and nomination for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? The album is called Ritual. It took me three years to make. I can't really remember what snags I hit but they were nothing too hardcore, apart from the old crippling self doubt. I tried my best at the time, looking back...I try not to look back. Award nominations aside, were you happy with the response the album received? Yeah, I mean it's not something I would tend to dwell on too much, but the fact some people liked it means I can kee... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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22
Oppenheimer are possibly one of the best natured and refreshingly enthusiastic bands in Ireland at the moment. The Belfast-based electro-pop duo's second album Take the Whole Mid-Range and Boost It, an infinitely fun piece of work, has brought them not only a Choice Music Prize nomination but deserved recognition in this Dublin-oriented music scene. They answered a few questions for Cluas. Tell us about the album. How long you worked on it? What snags you hit along the way, and how you overcame them? Looking back now, is there anything you'd change? We recorded the album over the course of about four months, mostly in the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast. We moved into the shell of the studio in June and spent two and half months pushing drums around this huge building and turning everything up really loud. The Oh Yeah project was just getting off it's feet so we basically had the run of the building, we could record anywhere, in bathrooms, elevators, stairwells. We r... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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20
Antony and The Johnsons 'The Crying Light'
A review of the album The Crying Light by Antony and The Johnsons Review Snapshot:The spine tingling vibrato remains very much in evidence and the bruised and broken hearts that found refuge in ‘I Am Bird Now’ are bathed in ‘The Crying Light’. However those with high hopes for this record may feel a little short changed as great intentions are oft hinted at but not always realised. Nonetheless there aren’t many artists at work right now that stir the soul and make it sing quite like these guys do. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Antony Hegarty is most certainly a card carrying member of the MVC (Marmite Vocals Club) and along with the likes of Joanna Newsom, Bob Dylan and Will Oldham (among others) is adored and abhorred in equal measure for his somewhat idiosyncratic vocal style. Column inches are written about it and many heated exchanges between friends fuelled by it to such an extent that it threatens to overshadow what... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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17
A review of the album 'Blue Lights On The Runway' by Bell X1 Review Snapshot: Uninventive indie rock dressed up in the too-large suit of Talking Heads, the new Bell X1 album has little in the way of invention or excitement. It would take a tectonic shift in their creative thinking for this band to become relevant or interesting again. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: It’s a coincidence that the two major Irish album releases of spring 2009, ‘No Line On The Horizon’ by U2 and ‘Blue Lights On The Runway’ by Bell X1, have such similar titles. Apart from sounding alike, both titles evoke images of sky and travel. And both are aspirational and ambitious: they tell us that U2 know no boundaries and Bell X1 are revving for take-off. In fact, the Kildare band’s fourth studio album is flat and unadventurous, like an interminable taxi round the runway without ever leaving the ground. The funkiness of ‘Fl... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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