Entries for 'Kevin Boyle'

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28
Bobby 'Bobby'
Review Snapshot: On their self-titled debut album, Bobby have created an absorbing, multi-layered record, one that definitively disproves the oft-quoted cliché that 'less is more'. Cluas Verdict: 8.5 out of 10 Full review: In some respects, Massachusetts band Bobby have emerged from the wilderness. They were not subject to the the sort of media hype that occasionally pursues up and coming bands, often to their detriment, like a lion stalking a young zebra. In fact relatively little was known about the ensemble, save for the former musical exploits of certain group members. And for a while there wasn't even a photograph of Bobby around, which further shrouded the band and their record in mystery and intrigue. It is befitting then that Bobby's music lands as alien and mystical as the group did. It is lush and layered, complex, bittersweet and, most importantly, emotionally engaging. With album opener, 'We Saw', the listener is promp... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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02
The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart (Live in Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Not to worry, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, it's not your fault. I don't think that the combined bill of Obama, the Queen of England, Jedward and a large hadron collider could have breathed life into the Button Factory on Wednesday night. Tough crowd. The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were in Dublin this week for their first headline gig in Ireland, having visited these shores only once before as support to The Wedding Present back in 2008. And with their energetic, chorus driven indie-pop, I was expecting quite an atmosphere. However, like a certain American preacher whose recent doomsday predictions went tits up, I was left sorely disappointed. I missed the support act through a series of unfortunate events, namely my finishing work later than I had expected and also finding a nearby pub that were serving two euro pints. But I made my way there sometime before nine to find the Button Factory comfortably ... [Read on]
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25
Wild Palms 'Until Spring'
Review Snapshot:  Despite occasional glimpses of promise, the debut album from British band Wild Palms loses its way somewhere between ambition and execution. The Cluas Verdict? 5 out of 10 Full Review: There is a lot to like about Wild Palms brand of music. Whilst drawing on an array of influences and blending genres as traditionally opposed as pop rock and shoe gaze, the group still manage to arrive at their own unique sound, a characteristic sorely lacking in many of their contemporaries. As well as having an imitable voice in lead singer Lou Hill, the album is also littered with catchy hooks and clever musical experimentation. So why then, having given the record fair chance, did I find myself so unmoved by the experience and even a little frustrated? Well for one thing the group don’t appear to have settled on a direction. There is an imbalance between simple, radio-friendly pop tunes and long, drawn out tracks that fluctuate in intensity onl... [Read on]
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13
The Decemberists 'The King is Dead'
A review of the album 'The King is Dead' by The Decemberists Review Snapshot: Casual listeners to the Decemberists will be glad to learn that the group's sixth album, ‘The King is Dead’, is a return to their folksy beginnings, combining the group's not inconsiderable musical talents and country rock sensibilities with the inimitable voice and witticisms of front man Colin Meloy. And without an enchanted forest or pantomime villain in sight, perhaps we can all get back to liking them again.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: It required a decidedly hardcore Decemberists fan to remain loyal to the Portland outfit following the inexplicable 2009 album ‘Hazards of Love’. A concept album about a forbidden relationship in a forest of the lead singer’s imagination, 'Hazards of Love' was an unremittingly self-indulgent project by the group that only served to repel the occasional listener and furthermore... [Read on]
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03
Silje Nes 'Opticks'
A review of the album 'Opticks' by Silje Nes Review Snapshot: The Norwegian singer’s second album, Opticks, is a triumph in delicacy. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Alongside flat packed furniture and, eh, I don’t know, fish, Scandinavia has also been exporting its fair share of singer songwriters over the last decade. And despite my blatant ignorance of the region, I do at least know that they tend to follow something of a formula. Scandinavian music, with notable exceptions of course, is often characterised by distant, dreamy voices and meandering musical pieces, usually involving minimal guitar riffs. And a fair amount of these folks have been classically trained. Ólöf Arnalds sophomore album received a glowing review on Cluas earlier in the year and she was classically trained in violin and singing. Silje Nes was classically trained in piano. The point is that these are talented and well educated artists... [Read on]
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10
A review of the album 'High Violet' by The National Review Snapshot: High Violet is the fifth album from the National and the group's most eagerly anticipated record yet. This time around the Brooklyn based band have the added burdens of worldwide exposure and greater critical scrutiny to deal with, though it appears that such pressures have either been openly embraced or actively ignored, such is the confidence with which this record is approached and realised. The result, a poignant exploration of 21st century anxieties, carefully crafted and delivered with an admirable sincerity. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Article: Few bands it seems take the long road to success anymore. What with the information super highway and the like, an outrageous hairstyle, an investment in treadmills, or even a spirited Paul Weller impression (yes, that’s a swipe at The Enemy), might just get you where you want to be. The National however, adopt a more ... [Read on]
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14
A review of the album 'Go' by Jonsi Review Snapshot: The falsetto flaunting front man of Sigur Rós embarks on a solo career with ‘Go’, an inspired nine track record swelling with more enthusiasm and optimistic sentiment than a Christian choir on Prozac. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: It is hard to believe, but it will be thirteen years this August since Sigur Rós released their debut album Von. And it is even harder to believe just how successful the Icelandic group have become over that time, given their tendencies towards long, drawn out musical progressions and vocals sung either in Icelandic or, more commonly, a made up jargon. And yet there was something in Agaetis Byrjun (1999) and in particular Takk (2005) that seemed to strike a chord with music followers of various tastes, leading to impressive album sales and well attended tours. But with the news earlier this year that the band were on hiatus, it seeme... [Read on]
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24
The Decemberists (live in The Vogue Theatre, Vancouver) Review Snapshot: The Decemberists are an unusual band. They have a knack for integrating theatre into their music in a way that many bands attempt to, but few actually accomplish with the same gusto as the Portland outfit. Far too often this merging of ideas tends to take away from one or the other and more often than not it is the music that suffers. The audience that packed into The Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver last night, however, were treated to a feast of over the top storytelling and live music. The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: An anticipative crowd queued outside the arena in the unforgiving Canadian sunshine for a good two hours before being admitted. The Vogue is an intimate venue and perfect for a band as interactive as The Decemberists and was comprised of a ground floor and balcony, both of which were seated. In relation to Irish venues it was only slightly bigger than the Ac... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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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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19
A review of the album 'Limbo, Panto' by Wild Beasts Review Snapshot: 'Limbo, Panto', the debut album from British band, Wild Beasts, a theatrically over the top record about sex, sin and struggling soccer teams. A genuinely strong and enjoyable debut. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: At first listen, you would be forgiven for thinking that Wild Beasts were a satirical cover band of The Smiths spliced with 18th century opera. Lead singer Hayden Thorpe has a camper singing style than Morrissey. Just think about that for a moment. Camper then flower flinging, blouse wearing, falsetto singing Morrissey. At times Thorpe’s voice is comically operatic and on other occasions it is a guttural growl, wandering where it pleases, without consideration for the taut bass lines and energetic guitar strumming, hopelessly trying to keep up. There is a raw charm to his voice, but one that will not be to everyone’s liking. It is so incomparable ... [Read on]
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