Entries for May 2009

Articles

27
A review of the album Battle For The Sun by Placebo Review Snapshot: If this is how good Placebo sound when they choose to write about 'stepping out of the darkness and into the light' can somebody please arrange to shower Brian Molko with sunlight for the foreseeable future?  An album full of urgency and optimism, Battle for the Sun has the potential to be regarded as Placebo's finest work. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: After 13 years, 5 studio albums and 10 million album sales, you would have to wonder what possible reasons Placebo have to keep going, especially after the loss of major label backing and Steve Hewitt, the band's drummer for the past 11 years.  Wonder no more, the reason is clear; after spending over a decade dealing with life in the shadows, Placebo, and Brian Molko in particular, have decided to focus on optimism and positivity, the result of which is Battle for the Sun (released June 8). Thos... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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26
Laura Izibor 'Let The Truth Be Told'
A review of the album Let The Truth Be Told by Laura Izibor Review Snapshot:  Pretty face on the cover? Check.  Impressive voice? Check.  Middle of the road, vaguely familiar sounding songs? Check.  It appears we have found this years Nora Jones/Alicia Keys/Dido The Cluas Verdict? 3.5 out of 10 Full Review: I've always believed that musicians should put more thought into their album titles, especially albums they know will be critically reviewed.  Let The Truth Be Told, really?  Okay, the truth is that, despite being touted as the next big thing since winning the 2FM Song Contest at the age of 15, Laura Izibor has produced an album that is the musical equivalent to magnolia paint.  In other words, Let The Truth Be Told is blandness personified.  No doubt then, it will be huge. You see, Let The Truth Be Told is not an album, no, it is very much a product (what credible musician finds it... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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24
Subplots 'Nightcycles'
A review of the album Nightcycles by Subplots Review Snapshot: At times melodic, at times fractured, Nightcycles is at all times a beautiful and ambitious debut long player and, for that, Subplots must be applauded. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: While it is fairly obvious that Phil Boughton, Daryl Chaney and Michael Orange listened to a lot of Radiohead while they were growing up, it would be unfair to peg Subplots as yet another Radiohead wannabe.  Having set tongues wagging and ears twitching with the excellent We Carved Our Names in Glass EP in 2008, the band have released an album that shows them as a trio not afraid to plough their own furrow. Recorded over an 18 month period with Ciaran Bradshaw (Dark Room Notes, Oliver Cole) it's no surprise to learn that the 10 tracks that make up Nightcycles were recorded at the same time as last years EP and the single Alarm. Opening with the sparse yet melodic 16:9, ... [Read on]
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18
DM Stith and The Acorn (live in La Maroquinerie, Paris) Review Snapshot: A cracking double bill of cinematic, romantic North American folk-rock to warm this cold Paris cellar. DM Stith is the quiet small-town Everyman with an otherworldly voice; The Acorn are your ideal college roommates. In their own ways, the two acts win over the crowd with their invention, sincerity and vision – though most punters will go home talking about Stith. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The average rock fan, on heading out on a Friday night, probably worries about catching things other than pneumonia or the common cold. But here we are in La Maroquinerie, a popular Paris venue, on a May evening and it actually feels chilly down here when normally these cellar walls are running with punter perspiration. You see, the place isn’t even half full – and whenever the door opens, a draught sweeps round the room. It’s odd that more people haven&r... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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11
Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert - WARP 20 (live in Cité de la Musique, Paris) Review Snapshot: To honour one of electronic music's best-loved labels, a birthday bash featuring two cult figures from different points on the spectrum of that genre. Vibert's DJ set is cool and seductive; Aphex Twin sets your head and entrails to spin-cycle. Two different live experiences but each great in their own way. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Gouging the mind’s ear for two decades now, Warp Records are currently celebrating their twentieth birthday by putting on shows in major cities around the world. The Paris leg at the Cité de la Musique comprises two nights: last night Pivot, !!! and Jarvis Cocker were among those getting the party started (Nightmares On Wax apparently pulled out at the last minute) and tonight Aphex Twin (right), Luke Vibert, Hudson Mohawke, Leila and Plaid are blowing out the candles. Luke Vibert is here doing a DJ set i... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, France
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10
A review of the album 'Posthumous Success' by Tom Brosseau Review Snapshot: The sound of a singer-songer in creative transition and perhaps finding his true voice. This album’s folk foundations are weak when exposed to attentive listening, but Brosseau’s other aspect is an alt-rock swagger that infuses this record with wit and personality. The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: The self-deprecating title of Tom Brosseau’s third album suggests that this North Dakota native may be of that rare species: a male acoustic singer-songer with a sense of humour. And for the most part this is true. ‘Posthumous Success’ is a likeable sort of record that brings a refreshingly alternative range of influences to bear on the familiar old folk-pop format. ‘Big Time’, with its wry declaration of wannabe ambition, shudders with a treated electric riff that would sound at home on stage at the Enormodome. There’s a trium... [Read on]
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09
Morrissey (live in Leisureland, Galway) Review Snapshot: Great set, shame about the venue . . . The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10  Full Review: I am in ‘the coastal town that they forgot to shut down,’ trudging along a drizzly Salthill Promenade.  Welcoming lights beckon a few feet ahead.  They belong to Leisureland: swimming pool, fitness centre, off-season funfair park, and the venue for tonight’s Morrissey concert.  As I enter the grounds, I pass a heap of dismantled funfair ride equipment being rained on; perfect material for Morrissey.  Perhaps he’ll see it and write a song about it.  Heaven Knows These Waltzers Are RustyNow, or some such.  The entrance has an A4 sheet of paper tacked to it that reads, ‘Morrissy’.  Someone - a disgruntled fan perhaps - has used a biro to helpfully add the ‘e’.  Inside, I am greeted by the welcoming aroma of chlorine.  I ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Galway
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08
A review of the album 'Royal Family - Divorce' by Storsveit Nix Noltes Review Snapshot: Balkan folk instrumentals tarted up with punk riffing and a brief spell of shoegazing squall. The genre sound is done well but the lack of variety in the tracks means your interest will wear off very soon, though it's probably good fun live. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: The band’s name is sufficiently Scandinavian and melodic to suggest that they deal in catchy tunes – and with that allusion to Hollywood hellraiser Nick Nolte, arse-kickingly catchy tunes at that. Plus, that album title can only be said in a Lydon-esque sneer. This seemed promising. Imagine our disappointment, then, to hear a full album of instrumental Balkan folk. For that, dear friends, is what ‘Royal Family Divorce’ by Icelandic post-rock supergroup Storsveit Nix Noltes gives you. If you’ve ever seen a film by Emir Kusturica, then you’ve hear... [Read on]
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06
MSTRKRFT (live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Toronto’s electro remixers blast out the tunes to an adoring, dancing, day-glo crowd. Subtext? Not for the over-25s.  The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: ‘Isn’t that just Mr. Scruff spelt wrong?’ I was asked when heading to see Toronto duo MSTRKRFT at the Academy. No, it’s Mastercraft (also spelt wrong). The moustachioed men have remixed all your favourites: Buck 65, Death From Above 1979, Bloc Party, Metric, Justice. Due to arrive on at 12.30, the masters were supported during the wait by LA Riots, a DJ who decidedly kept quite serious but popped out some tech-house tunes for the filling crowd to bop to. Somehow we garnered a spot in the VIP lounge, which was ironically equipped with opposites in excess - a large wooden Buddha and several bottles of Cristal. Looking down onto the crowd I noticed many neon T-shirts and indoor sunglasses and began to feel a bit removed f... [Read on]
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04
R.S.A.G. (live in Dublin)
R.S.A.G. (live in Whelans, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Big fan of drum solos? Nah, me neither. Fortunately Jeremy Hickey, spotted above ground on a drum stool last weekend, kept the solos to a minimum. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Sure, there were lots of great fills and extravagant percussion but almost always with the backing of his very own phantom band. This is where the visuals come in. On a projected screen behind the drums was the reverse silhouette of Hickey accompanying himself on bass, acoustic guitar, handclaps and whatever else was called for. Not a brand new concept -- of all people Paul McCartney did a similar thing on TFI Friday about 15 years ago, but completely lacking Hickey's style or visual impact. Hickey's visuals were creepy and expressionless figures, one of them hooded, looking like a funky drop-out Ewok. A more interesting sight than most bands could muster. His voice is a sort of cross between John Mart... [Read on]
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