Articles: Album reviews

04
Midlake 'The Courage of Others'
A review of the album 'The Courage of Others' by Midlake  Review Snapshot: Texan band Midlake are a rare find. The lead vocals are strong, yet haunting, mellow yet powerful. “The Courage of Others” is the band’s long awaited third album, following their 2006 concept album “Trials of Van Occupanther”. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review:  Tim Smith, with his warm vocals and poetic song writing skills have been responsible for transporting me well and truly back to 1891, where the band's second album, “Trials of Van Occupanther” is set. Therefore I was somewhat nervous about this album, fearing it would not live up to the expectations built by their previous joyous success. However, “The Courage of Others” has done something I prayed it would; it took the beautiful woody, sounds of the forest they  had previously established, and embellished it. Removing from it the... [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]
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Review of EP released by Belfast band Yes Cadets Cluas Snapshot: Fused pop, rock n roll, art house synthesisers & jumpy vocals make YES CADETS potential darlings of the UK music scene this year. The songs are snappy, catchy and the melodies delicious. YES CADETS are going to be big. Fast. Cluas Verdict? 9/10 Full Review: YES CADETS formed in Belfast in 2008. Only a year in and they have on their hands a belter of an EP to flaunt their wares with. First things first, YES CADETS are not about ground breaking new styles of music. Make no mistake, there are elements of everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Gary Numan in here. The key thing for this reviewer is that the songs are quality. The EP has five tracks, and any of them could make the radio as a single. Opener “Rufio” is bouncing, and infectious. Sweeping synth, constant drumming and a pop vocal that drags the listener in, it’s excellent. Lead single “Canada” continues in the same vein. N... [Read on]
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Cluas Snapshot: Warpsichord is the debut from electro, experimental London based musician Alan MX. It’s different, complicated, and really very good. Electronic, dance, and occasionally pop, it’s a fine record and one to surely pick up pace this year. Cluas Verdict? 7.5/10 Full Review: “Warpsichord” is littered with catchy loops mixed with delicate melodies and what sounds like millions of layered samples of vocals, synths, guitars, lasers, effects and whatever else he could find. If it sounds all over the place, it’s probably because it is. However each track sounds like 4 minutes of chaos that somehow pulls together. What results more often than not is altogether a pleasure to listen to. “Warpsichord”, “Cuckoos”, “The Captain America Video” and “Green Tea” are unforgettable. “Cuckoos” is fast paced with an orchestral overture that would not seem out of place in a James Bond themed m... [Read on]
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14
Beach House 'Teen Dream'
A review of the album 'Teen Dream' by Beach House Review Snapshot: Beach House's third album is a full of gentle melodies, rich in Autumn tones, and heavy on guitar reverb. Business as usual then. The CLUAS verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: Teen Dream sees the proverbial “double edged sword” swinging right back in Beach House’s direction with the same amount of force and velocity that Devotion, their sophomore album, generated in 2008. That’s the drawback of having a sound so distinctive - escaping it can be problematic. On album number 3 they all too comfortably slide back into their groove, creating an album that sounds like a straight forward continuation of their previous work. Like an old pair of slippers that become so familiar you couldn’t remember what colour they were without taking a sneaky glance, Teen Dream fits the band a little too snugly. Their trademark sou... [Read on]
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14
Various Artists 'Dublin's Unsigned, the Best Of'
A review of the compilation album 'Dublin's unsigned: the best of' Review Snapshot: "Dublin's unsigned: Best of" showcases the raw talent of Dublin music's underbelly with a selection of hard working bands. Shining a light on parts of the Irish music scene that are too often overlooked. A good reminder, for those that need one, that there is more to Irish music than U2, and soppy boybands. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: For many outside of Ireland Dublin remains associated with one band, U2, despite having spawned other great bands like Thin Lizzy and er… The Boomtown Rats. What many don't realise is that there are many fabulous bands lurking in the shadows, working away, all baying for even a fraction of U2's success. To showcase some of these bands' talents, Fatfux records, with the support of the Arnotts project, Phantom FM and IMRO, have put together a compilation of Dublin's best unsigned act... [Read on]
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01
A review of the 'Twilight Saga: New Moon Music' soundtrack Review Snapshot: An album that would most likely be passed over by many because of the film it comes from, this soundtrack is an extremely pleasant surprise. With tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Grizzly Bear (to name a few), this soundtrack is for fans of music, not just fans of the Twilight extravaganza. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: This album is a complete surprise for many of us with preconceived notions about the Twilight franchise. The mentions of "sparkling" vampires and teen love are the subject of many a jeer from those above such nonsense, so when someone says: "the soundtrack for New Moon is actually quite good", it's fair enough to be a more than a little disbelieving. The opening track, and theme tune to the movie, is "Meet me on the Equinox" by Death Cab for Cutie. The song, having been written for a vampire romance, is a tale of love - "Let me lay be... [Read on]
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30
Channel One 'Sound To Light'
A review of the album 'Sound To Light' by Channel One Review Snapshot: The intriguing and likeable blend of electronica and shoegazing by this Dublin quartet will attract listeners from all points of the indie compass. It's forceful enough to make a good first impression and subtle enough thereafter to keep you hooked. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The members of Channel One come from a background of punk and rock bands but together they make a sound that draws on electronica, post-rock and shoegazing. The Dublin-based foursome have already built up a live following and played at SXSW, CMJ and other international festivals. Now, after a couple of singles and EPs since 2005, we have their first album. And it's quite good. The reference points are easy to identify - My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai, Sigur Ros and M83, amongst others. Layers of hazy guitars contrast with clean electronic beats, and any vocals are performed head-down and mumb... [Read on]
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05
Switchfoot 'Hello Hurricane'
  A review of the album 'Hello Hurricane' by Switchfoot Review Snapshot: After jumping ship from major label Sony and creating their own indie label called lower case people Switchfoot have returned with 'Hello Hurricane'. While there are tracks identical to their previous releases it's still an interesting and conflicting album. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: I really like Switchfoot. They're great, but they're predictable - there's always a 'heavy' rock track, an almost ballady song and the rest are a bit samey. Not necessarily a bad thing - you know what you get when you purchase a Switchfoot album, like a fateful friend you can always trust will only change slightly in the space of a decade or two. There are no surprises here, but after every band on earth proclaiming that their most recent album is 'different' it's really refreshing that some still know what they're great at,... [Read on]
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The Beat Poets 'The Making' E.P Cluas Snapshot: They have the earnest heart on sleeve lyrics, big sound and bigger choruses; The Beat Poets are poised to be the finest purveyors of stirring rock in a long time. If it’s your thing, check them out. Cluas Verdict? 7/10 Full Review: The Beat Poets are on the up. Their latest offerings have been picked up by MTV USA and the BBC amongst others. The title track “The Making” is getting a lot of airplay on the radio. Things are going good for the band touted by some to be potentially the biggest band from NI since Snooze (sorry Snow!) Patrol. So what’s the E.P like? Well if a pumping rhythm, honest emotive lyrics and an audible yearning for a big sound is your thing? It’s great actually. If you don’t, it’s awful. It’s that simple. The title track “The Making” has elements of The Verve, U2 amongst others in the sound. It’s perfectly crafted as a popular roc... [Read on]
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