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06
Elliot Smith 'An Introduction to...'
A review of the album 'An Introduction to' by Elliot Smith Review Snapshot: A number of seminal musicians emerged in the early 90s and died prematurely and where many of those musicians pushed the dynamics of their genres, Elliot Smith’s legacy was achieved via a house style that’s about as common as it gets: one man and his guitar. It’s now been seven years since the world lost something quietly elegant: a singer-songwriter gone before his time. This release is strongly recommended for those who have yet to pick at the surface of Elliot Smith. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Elliot Smith was one of the greatest songwriters of our era and for his dedicated fan-base, every album was the soundtrack to a new chapter in the singer's always troubled life. However this album offers nothing new for existing fans - nothing unreleased, nothing live and thought to be lost to the sound desk. Yet... [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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01
Mice Parade 'What It Means to Be Left Handed'
A review of the album ‘What It Means to Be Left Handed’ by Mice Parade Review Snapshot: With ‘What It Means to Be Left Handed’, Adam Pierce and his Mice Parade have made an album full of worldly influences and a list of guest performers that is the stuff of any indie kids wet dream. Pierce once again exceeds expectations with the records many layers and wonderful production, which take the listener on an intoxicating musical rollercoaster well worth the admission fee. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: The term 'less is more' is certainly not one Adam Pierce makes his music by. His Mice Parade return with the boldly sprawling and intricate 'What It Means to Be Left Handed', a record crammed to the hilt with worldly influences. Taking these influences from everything from Flamenco and West African Jazz right through to Shoegaze and Indie Rock, Pierce has enlisted artists as diverse as Swahili vocalist Somi, ... [Read on]
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22
Illness 'For All you ABC-1s Out There'
A review of the album 'For All you ABC-1’s Out There' by Illness Review Snapshot: 'For All You ABC-1’s Out There' captures the chaotic chemistry of two talented musicians searching for their musical path. Admittedly, the mediocre quality of the recording limits the band’s potential to make an impact in the commercial market at this moment in time. As an indication of things to come, there is certainly enough here to suggest that Illness are on their way towards future success.  The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: History has shown us that culture is self-referential and reactionary, with new trends developing in response to the dominant art forms of the present day. The sentimentality of Romanticism produced a suitable counterpoint in the Realist movement, while the excessive theatrics of Hair Metal begat the shoegazing philosophy of Grunge. Now in this post-digital age, bands are beginnings to revert to the... [Read on]
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22
School Tour 'Yes Way' (EP)
A review of the EP 'Yes Way' by School Tour Review Snapshot: One artist’s ethereal exploration of electronic art and its borderless landscape. And while some may dismiss it as self-indulgent, the asking price (free) makes it recommended listening for any open-minded music fan.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: In the past, an artist would commence his creative journey by relocating to a distant rural landscape, disconnected from the distractions of the modern day. In severing his ties with society, he opened the possibility of an unimpeded exploration of the self, re-emerging finally with a product as yet unrealised by the outside world. Yeats’ finest work arose in Inishfree; Led Zepelin’s III found its feet in a remote Welsh cottage and now Donegal becomes the birthplace of a new breed of Irish Electronica from instrumentalist School Tour.  School Tour - real name Gerald Duffy - is fast becoming a leadi... [Read on]
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13
Gregory and the Hawk 'Leche'
A review of the album 'Leche' by Gregory and the Hawk Review Snapshot:  Leche is the third studio album from Meredith Godreau or, as she is better known, Gregory and the Hawk. The quirk that can be heard in her previous albums and EPs remains an overwhelming character in her latest release but that could be the problem here; little else has changed either. And instead of leaning on her influences, it sounds like she’s just copied them.  The Cluas Verdict? 4 out of 10 Full Review: The opening song ‘For the Best’ has some really excellent lyrics, something fans of her will be familiar with. One problem with this song is it’s heavy similarity to anything ‘early Tori Amos.’ “I really want to find a bar, and mix some fear up with a friend …and give you skull tattoos in pen”    It goes on to talk of her curiosity about how her lover or hopeful lover might feel.  ... [Read on]
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08
Jamiroquai 'Rock Dust Light Star'
A review of the album 'Rock Dust Light Star' by Jamiroquai Review Snapshot: The seventh album from this popular electro-funk band.  Brimming with jazz, funk, and catchy disco floorfillers,  Jay Kay has a long way to go before hanging up his oversized hat. Cluas Verdict: 7 out of 10 Full Review: It's easy to forget how long Jamiroquai have been going.  ‘Rock Dust Light Star’ is the seventh album from a band that have been knocking out the albums since the early 90s.  Despite the 6 albums already under their belt, a plethora of MTV awards and let's not forget a Grammy, the band clearly have no plans to slow down & are keen to showcase that with this latest offering.  So were the recent tirades against X Factor judges genuine concerns over the way some might deem the music industry to be headed, or just  well orgnised hype to promote a mediocre album? With its subdued melody and uninspir... [Read on]
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04
Lady Gaga (live in Dublin)
Lady Gaga (live in The O2, Dublin) Review Snapshot: The Madonna comparisons are obvious. They both write and sing, the choreography is similar in parts, Alejandro is the new La Isla Bonita but I’ve never seen Madonna play the piano the way Gaga can. She’s here for the long haul and I’ve no doubt, on tonight’s performance we’re watching the artist of this decade. The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10 Full Review: The world’s current most famous pop star returned to Dublin for the first of 3 nights at the o2 for a two-hour show split into four acts culminating with her Monster Ball. Act 1 was set around a New York City backdrop for the opening numbers ‘Dance In The Dark’ and ‘Glitter And Grease’ as her green car breaks down in the Big Apple, but fear not, under the bonnet is a piano which she plays during ‘Just Dance’. There’s a constant changing of costumes throughout ‘Beautiful... [Read on]
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25
Maps & Atlases 'Perch Patchwork'
A review of the album 'Perch Patchwork' by Maps & Atlases Review Snapshot: New to the indie scene, Chicago band Maps & Atlases mash a folk rock sound with the math rock genre to produce a well-thought out and emotional debut album. A recurring theme of bitterness around break-ups is often disguised by a cheery nature in what could be one of the must-have indie albums.  The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Folk rock has been an increasingly popular genre for the past two years. Whether you consider it from a mainstream point of view (Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling) or if you are more inclined to take an Indie perspective (Frank Turner) it has no doubt been growing in influence. This year sees a new American band combining the ever-growing folk rock style with a less appreciated genre that originated in the 1980s, known as “Math Rock” (others tagged with this genre include Ghosts and Vodka, Dilute). Although Maps & Atlase... [Read on]
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23
Kings of Leon 'Come Around Sundown'
A review of the album 'Come Around Sundown' by Kings of Leon Review Snapshot: Come Around Sundown is the 5th studio album from Tennessee Rock band  Kings of Leon. After a previous release that was less than impressive, anticipation was high. And Come Around Sundown does not disappoint. It feels like a super-album, taking all the best bits from their previous releases and combining them to give fans something they have never heard before. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review:The single from the album is “Radioactive.” It was a weak release considering the standard of the rest of the album. It also doesn’t entirely fit in with the album’s sound and though it’s a great song on it’s own, it shouldn’t be used as the benchmark for the rest of the album.   A much stronger single would have been “Pyro”. This chorus-rich song tells the story of man who decides to leave his family, for fear th... [Read on]
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