Entries for June 2009

Articles

27
Neil Young (live in The O2, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Neil Young and Co. pulled no punches during their June 21 show at Dublin’s O2. Now 63 years old, Neil Young still puts on an exciting and visceral show. Ripping through crushing riff laden classics such as Cinnamon Girl and Hey Hey, My My, Young made no effort whatsoever to show his age. Even in the quieter moments of the show, Young was still all blood and guts, singing every line like he still means it.  Once upon a time, Young sang that “rock ‘n’ roll can never die”. It certainly won’t as long as he’s around. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: The opening act on the night was Villagers, who set up in the cramped space between stage front and Neil Young's mammoth set-up of amps, pianos, organs and various other noise making devices. They seemed comfortable in front of such a massive crowd, Conor O'Brien howling and crooning with a passion... [Read on]
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23
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse 'Dark Night Of The Soul' Review Snapshot: Artists fall out with record label, release album for free online as a parting shot. Nope I’m not talking about Machina II by the Smashing Pumpkins, but Dark Night of the Soul by Danger Mouse and friends. DNOTS does dabble, however, in similarly dark realms. Shiny summer pop this isn’t, store it up for the winter. It's late night introverted pop and it's a curious aside in the Danger Mouse canon. The Cluas Verdict? 6.9 out of 10 Full Review: As if parting ways with Paul McCartney and Radiohead wasn't enough kudos-shattering for one decade, EMI now finds itself embroiled in a right kerfuffle with the enduringly zeitgesity producer-cum-cash cow Danger Mouse. His über collaboration-compilation with Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse - featuring such luminaries as Frank Black, Iggy Pop, Julian Casablancas, Gruff Rhys, and Nina Persson (The Cardigans) - has been streaming onlin... [Read on]
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11
Royksopp 'Junior'
A review of the album 'Junior' by Royksopp Review Snapshot: After an uninspiring and uneven second studio album Royksopp get their groove together with "Junior", their summer collection. If you listen to this album and don't smile at least once you don't have a pulse. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The frankly brilliant "Junior", Royksopp's third studio album, puts a lie to one of the great musical clichés: disposable pop. Pop is pop. If it's good it's good. If it's bad it's bad. If it's "Junior" it's an indisposable treasure. "Junior" is one of the best pop albums this year by a mile, it's varied in tone, it's skewed in its sounds and its sentiments, but best of all it's pure fun. Take the opener, "Happy up here". When asked about JFK Angie Dickinson said he was "the best two and a half minutes I ever had". Alter the context slightly... [Read on]
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10
The View 'Which Bitch?'
A review of the album 'Which Bitch?' by The View Review Snapshot: A failed attempt by the 'Dundonian upstarts' to recreate the magic of their debut album, 'Hats Off to the Buskers.' In the words of all of our favourite teachers, 'a good effort, but a lot more work is needed.' The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: I recall listening to an excellent album in 2007 which shaped my summer, this album was 'Hats off to the Buskers', the debut album from ambitious Scots The View. It was a personal portrayal of working-class life and the lyrics and music were immeasurably perfect. My hopes were high for their follow up 'Which Bitch?' They needn't have been. Evidently life has changed for the band since the success of their debut. In particular, the lead singer Kyle Falconer moved out of his Dundee council-estate family home into a central London apartment. Surely this would cause progression in the band's music? It... [Read on]
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10
A review of the album 'A Journal For Plague Lovers' by Manic Street Preachers Review Snapshot: Fourteen years ago Richey Edwards, the then lyricist and rhythm guitarist of the Manic Street Preachers, went missing at a well-known suicide spot on the Severn. And despite a handful of alleged sightings of the former Manic, was in November of last year announced dead. And now in 2009, A Journal for Plague Lovers adds another chapter to the legacy of one of Britain's great songwriters. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: For those of us inclined to sentimentality, the Richey Edwards saga has been an ongoing source of enchantment, never allowing us to stray too far from Manic album releases, on the admittedly slight chance that the tragic lyricist might return. Sadly, since it has been well over a decade since his disappearance, it would seem unlikely that such a scenario might arise and so A Journal for Plague Lovers serves as the next best thing. The... [Read on]
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10
A review of the album 'Break Up The Concrete' by The Pretenders Review Snapshot: Though it leans more towards blues and country than its predecessors, the ninth album by Chrissie Hynde et al. is still recognizably safe classic rock. But slipping it into a Greatest Hits package feels needlessly defeatist. The Cluas Verdict? 4.5 out of 10 Full Review: This is odd: our review copy of the new album by The Pretenders comes in a double CD with a Best Of. What’s more, the hits compilation is Disc 1 of this set and the new album is Disc 2. You’d think it’d be a brave record company exec who’d propose this to Chrissie Hynde. Do you really need us to review The Pretenders’ hits? Surely you already know from constant airplay those smart late-‘70s rockers, radio-friendly ‘80s poppers and blustery ‘90s stadium ballads. (We’ll only point out that this compilation doesn’t include a catchy 1999 cover of The Divi... [Read on]
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10
A review of the album 'Here Come The Vikings' by Astrid Williamson Review Snapshot: One glorious lyric aside, a record of chugging ones, epic ones, book-smart lyrics and all the regulars of indie-by-numbers. You’re a busy person with other records to hear and other things to do, so this needn’t detain you. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: The fourth solo album by former Goya Dress singer Astrid Williamson is more plugged-in and amped-up than her previous records. Unfortunately, while for her this might be a grand creative leap, for the listener ‘Here Come The Vikings’ is mid-table indie-rock of the sort you’ve heard many times before. To be fair, there are brief flashes of personality on show here. When she rocks out, like on opening ‘Store’, Williamson has a strong and soaring voice similar to ‘The Lion And The Cobra’-era Sinead O’Connor. But a lot of the uptempo tracks here are unori... [Read on]
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09
Julie Feeney 'Pages'
A review of the album Pages by Julie Feeney Review Snapshot: There isn't an artist quite like Julie Feeney at work in Ireland today, her music is at once eccentric, grounded, cheeky and vulnerable. Having snatched the inaugural Choice Music Prize in 2005, 'Pages' may see her be the first to do the double. The Cluas Verdict?  9 out of 10 Full Review: Reading the liner notes of Julie Feeney's second album 'Pages' will likely have you questioning just what the hell you've been doing with your time.  Finally managing to clean out the shed or alphabetise your CD collection can't help but pale in comparison to writing, composing, orchestrating, conducting, producing and performing your own album. Even if the end result was less than brilliant, you'd have to admire Feeney's efforts, but this is a record of sparkling innovation and excitement. Feeney's voice is as dextrous and beautifully textured as on her debut and i... [Read on]
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06
We Were Promised Jetpacks 'These Four Walls'
A review of the album These Four Walls by We Were Promised Jetpacks Review Snapshot: A confident statement of intent from this Edinburgh four piece who are staunch in their sound and endearing in its execution. They don’t always hit the highs they’re aiming for but there are clear indicators that they’ll reach them in time. The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10 Full Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks are not a band you’d mess with lightly. Pale-faced indie kids with lilied livers they most certainly are not. Opening track ‘It’s Thunder and it’s Lightning’ nails their colours firmly to the mast as a solid, energetic and forceful foursome intent on blowing away the competition. From the off there’s an honesty to frontman Adam Thompson’s vocals that draws you in, just like label mates and fellow countrymen ‘The Twilight Sad’ and ‘Frightened Rabbit’ the Scottish brogue certainly helps but t... [Read on]
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