Entries for 'Steven O'Rourke'

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28
My Jerusalem 'Gone for Good'
A review of the album 'Gone for Good' by My Jerusalem Review Snapshot: The critic in me has heard it all before but the music fan doesn't care making Gone for Good a rather perplexing beast. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: This review is brought to you by the thesis I've spent most of my summer working on.  It will come in three parts, the reasoning for which will become clear as you read. It should, if the people I've interviewed are correct, cover the three key roles of the music reviewer and, therefore, provide the perfect music review. The Critic: In this role, it is important for the reviewer to go beyond the pleasure of the ears and express judgement and argue the reasons for what he hears. The problem with this approach is that we are all limited by knowledge. There are those of you reading that may well have a vastly inferior/superior mental database from which to compare and contrast music. As a critic, it's my job t... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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12
Villagers 'Becoming A Jackal'
A review of the album Becoming A Jackal by Villagers Review Snapshot: Despite the huge weight of expectation, Conor O'Brien delivers possibly the finest Irish record you'll hear this year in the shape of Becoming A Jackal. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: It's difficult not to feel sorry for Conor O'Brien. Dude's only a slip of a thing and yet he has to deal with me putting the entire weight of my musical expectations for 2010 on his shoulders.  That said, with Becoming A Jackal, O'Brien has set himself apart from the pack. There's a tenderness and a craftsmanship at play here that is as rare as it is beautiful and for that reason alone O'Brien and his Villagers should be considered a national treasure. Opening with 'I Saw the Dead', Villagers set the scene for an album whose veins are coursing with isolation and fear and yet whose mind is set on hope and regeneration.  Such is the epic nature of 'I S... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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10
C O D E S (live in the Academy, Dublin)
C O D E S (live in the Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot:  C O D E S show once again why they are one of Ireland's best, if not best, live acts. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review:  Hearing that one of your favourite bands have split is a lot like being told by the vet that your dog has to be put down.  You realise that there must be a very good reason behind it, but you still don't want to accept it.  On hearing late last year that the Future Kings of Spain had abdicated their right to ascend the throne, I was devastated.  Never again would I be able to shout 'Play Meanest Sound!' during a set.  However, the blow was softened somewhat with the emergence of The Black Triangle, a band consisting of ex-members of the Future Kings of Spain (Karl Hussey and Bryan McMahon) and Bambi (Dan Barry). Now, while I'm still not sure whether their name refers to a particularly vehement branch of lesbian ... [Read on]
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03
Pilotlight 'The Post War Musical'
A review of the album The Post War Musical by Pilotlight Review Snapshot: The Post War Musical is a beautiful debut record from an Irish band who have aren't afraid to explore old themes with a new perspective. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The French philosopher Alain Badiou coined the phrase inaesthetic to refer to the creation of art.  In his Handbook of Inaesthetics, Badiou opined that artistic endeavours were both immanent and singular. They are immanent in the sense that their truth is given in their immediacy and singular in that their truth is found in the work of art and the work of art alone.  To Badiou, the critic and his/her analysis doesn't particularly matter.  The truth, the beauty and the merit of a piece of music exists not in my words, or the words of my kin, but in the work itself. That's not to say you shouldn't read what I'm about to say about Pilotlight's debut long player, The Post War ... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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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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01
C O D E S 'Trees Dream in Algebra'
A review of the album Trees Dream in Algebra by C O D E S Review Snapshot:  A flawless debut for Dublin 4 piece C O D E S; Trees Dream in Algebra is one of those rare albums where the realisation matches the vision.   With its dreamy arrangements, soaring vocal harmonies and often heart stopping lyrics, Trees Dream in Algebra is the best Irish record in years.   The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: When I was given access to Trees Dream in Algebra for the first time, I must admit, I was a little nervous.  As anyone who knows me or who reads CLUAS will know, I've been raving about C O D E S for a long time now.  Could their debut record possibly live up to my expectations; would it match the energy and magic of their live shows?  I shouldn't have worried.  Trees Dream in Algebra is simply breathtaking.  Indeed, the only element of this record that is more impressive than the scale and sco... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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19
Pearse McGloughlin 'Busy Whisper'
A review of the album Busy Whisper by Pearse McGloughlin Review Snapshot: Busy Whisper is a haunting collection of ten songs that reflect on those moments of longing that appear to happen in the peripheral.  Sparse without being bleak, Busy Whisper sees McGloughlin emerge as one of Ireland's finest song writing talents. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The name Pearse McGloughlin might not mean anything to you now, but I don't doubt that it will become a great deal more familiar when Busy Whisper makes its way on to many end of year 'best of' lists.  Full of ghostly compositions and tender melodies, it is hard to believe that Busy Whisper is a debut album and yet it is, perhaps, the finest Irish solo record I've heard since Damien Rice released O. I've always found that one of the most disappointing aspects of real life is that it doesn't come with its own soundtrack, unlike movies and TV.  If real life did have a ... [Read on]
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13
Oxegen 2009 Day Three (live in Punchestown, Kildare)
Day Three of Oxegen 2009   Review Snapshot: While I didn't get to see as many bands as I would have liked to on Day Three of Oxegen 2009, those that I did see continued to impress.  From a purely musical point of view, Oxegen 2009 ended on a high with one performance in particular standing out. The CLUAS Verdict? 8.5 out of 10   Full Review: Rarely Seen Above Ground (Red Bull Music Academy) On paper, going to see a drummer play along to a backing track doesn't sound too appealing.  It certainly doesn't help when that drummer arrives on stage over 20 minutes late.  However, when the drummer in question is Jeremy Hickey, better known as Choice Music Prize nominee Rarely Seen Above Ground, you know it's well worth the wait.  Hickey is a very talented multi-instrumentalist and his performance is accompanied by a screen showing a virtual band who are, in reality, all Hickey.  What is rarely mentioned ... [Read on]
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12
Day Two Oxegen 2009 (live in Punchestown, Co. Kildare)
Review of Day Two of Oxegen 2009 Review Snapshot: Day Two of Oxegen 2009 was all about rain, rock and roll.  Despite the weather, or maybe because of it, the majority of acts seemed to up their game and reward their audiences with performances that defied the best efforts of the elements to ruin everyone's day. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10   Full Review: Red Light Company (The O2 Stage) They might be more than a little obsessed with Broken Social Scene but Red Light Company appear to have perfected the art of daytime festival performance.  Think Feeder.  Considering the impending weather the crowd were in good spirits and were rewarded with rousing renditions of Scheme Eugene (name check Broken Social Scene) and Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene Label).  Perhaps a little too sameish for my liking but still, not a bad start to day two.   Ge... [Read on]
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