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21
Marc Carroll 'In Silence'
Review Snapshot: Carroll’s rhythmic arrangements and calming husky tones will accommodate most tastes as the album gently works through a plethora of genres, but it both requires and deserves your full attention. Best enjoyed on a long quiet car journey.  The Cluas Verdict:  7 out of 10 Full Review: It’s a joy finding something new­­­­­ to mull over, although in this case ‘it’ is hardly new as singer/songwriter Marc Carroll has been carving out his musical career for over 20 years, albeit with modest commercial success. ‘In Silence’, a collection of his work to date,  both requires and deserves greater attention. The collection begins with ‘The Boy Who Dreamed’, an instrumental of gentle inoffensive folk melodies before elevating into ‘Love Over Gold’ the second track and my first opportunity to sample Carroll’s striking vocals and confident delivery - its rou... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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10
Eddie Vedder (live in San Diego)
Eddie Veder, Copely Symphony Hall, San Diego (July 5, 2011) Review Snapshot: Eddie Vedder is touring solo across North America with a brave and beautiful show, crossing musical generations and styles, challenging his audience and himself.   The Cluas Verdict: 10 out of 10   Full Review: Eddie Vedder has got soul and guts. He's touring solo again, this time playing stuff from his new 'Ukulele Songs' album, as well as stripped down versions of Pearl Jam gems, songs from his 'Into The Wild' album, and some amazingly great covers. Eddie can make a lot of noise with just a guitar or ukulele and that beautiful booming baritone voice. He jumps across decades to croon a 20s ukulele love song, on to a 60s Beatles heartbreaker, 80s Springsteen & X covers, and the whole breadth of Pearl Jam's time.   As with Pearl Jam shows, he has great faith in his audience, and we have complete faith in him, and that feels good. &n... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews
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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]
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09
Skully
A talented innovator who forged a very successful international musical career, the acclaimed Cork-born musician and producer known simply as Skully has been exceptionally busy of late. With two of his songs included on the soundtrack for the new Hollywood film Soul Surfer (2011) and the release of his new solo album earlier this month, Skully (left) is now preparing to reprise his role as part of the successful Cork-based musical duo Métisse and work on their as yet untitled third album. Discussing his new solo album entitled Scent Of A Moment (2011), Skully admits that the inspiration for his second record was triggered by unusual stimuli. “Each song on Scent Of A Moment is about a moment in my life. There are songs on it about lost love, the economic climate in Ireland today, friends, relationships and history. Every song comes down to one moment that I remember because of a particular smell that I associate with that moment.” Based in the County Cork ... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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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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02
Richard Marx (Live in Dublin)
Review Snapshot:  An 80s heart-throb making his debut appearance in Ireland has the crowd eating out of his hand with a mix of story and song from an illustrious singing and songwriting career that would have even his most cynical critics smiling. The Cluas Verdict: 8.5 out of 10 Full Review: Richard Marx! Now there’s a name from the '80s that we haven’t heard much from lately, but thankfully the man is back with a new album ‘Stories To Tell’, which includes some stripped down covers of his classic hits, and these are what he performed at Dublin’s National Concert Hall during his first ever gig in Ireland. Opening with ‘Endless Summer Nights’ and ‘Take This Heart’, this two hour show basically featured, one man, 2 guitars and a piano, and the occasional assistance of his mate Steve tinkling the ivories, but it really was a one-man show of music and chat, and what stories he told us throughout the evening. ... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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31
Milk Maid 'Yucca'
Review Snapshot: An uninspiring new project from Nine Black Alps' former bass player Martin Cohen, Yucca's fuzz-pop is tedious and unengaging. The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: At a time when British rock music was feeling pretty good about itself as a slew of post-Libertine style bands dropped records of varying quality to the enthusiastic music press, Nine Black Alps were something of an anomaly. Most apparent was that, unlike most of his contemporaries, singer Sam Forrest didn’t perform in a heavily-accented style. Instead he drained any evidence of their Mancunian roots from his voice as the band looked to early-nineties grunge music for inspiration. Their output was sometimes absorbing, but these footpath-crumbling rock anthems didn’t sit well next to Franz Ferdinand’s disco stomps or Maximo Park’s choppy pop that were fashionable at the time. Despite some initial positive write-ups for their first album Everything Is, Nine Black ... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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26
Chain And The Gang 'Music's Not For Everyone'
A review of the album 'Music's Not For Everyone' by Chain and the Gang Review Snapshot:  The follow-up to 2009’s 'Down With Liberty... Up With Chains!', and Chain And The Gang’s shtick has worn thin. The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review:  Ian Svenonius, a cult songwriter/front-man and creative multi-tasker, returns in his Chain And The Gang guise to continue pedalling his theatrical punk manifesto. This, as on their debut offering, is borne-out in the band’s ironic anti-freedom sentiments and fatalistic lyrics. As on Chain and the Gang's first album, Svenonius uses musical genres previously seen as socially conscious or rebellious (for example seventies funk on 'Livin’ Rough' and '(I’ve Got) Privilege') and distorts them with his defeatist stance.  This is problematic on various counts.  Firstly, the mixture of genres has a jarring effect on... [Read on]
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26
Review Snapshot: The legendary 1979 album performed in its entirety, coupled with a visual display to rival anything seen in a science fiction movie. This is as good as it gets. The Cluas Verdict? 10 out of 10 Full Review: Roger Waters show at the O2 in Dublin was a visual spectacle from the opening. The half constructed wall, with so many fantastic images projected onto it, dominated from the start of ‘In The Flesh’ and ‘The Thin Ice’. The sound for ‘Another Brick In The Wall (parts 1-3)' was crystal clear, during which the group of young school kids singing the chorus had hair standing on the back on my neck, while the huge Gerald Scarfe school teacher puppet with the large cane in his hand, moved eerily above the children as they sang “Hey Teacher, leave those kids alone”. The tracks were performed in the order they appeared on the album, as the bricks continued to be put in place during ‘Mother&rsquo... [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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