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03
Ann Scott 'Flo'
A review of the album 'Flo' by Ann Scott Review Snapshot: Ann Scott returns with her remarkable new album 'Flo', a collection of songs that will enthrall and disquiet in equal measure. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: It’s been quite a while since Ann Scott’s impressive second album 'We’re Smiling' was released, an accomplished album that stood up to repeated listens while her debut 'Poor Horse' was equally as arresting. Despite this, the Dublin-born singer has always remained under the radar as an artist in this country, never quite achieving the kudos she deserves. With third album 'Flo' it is surely time for Scott to step out from the shadows, as it is her most complete work to date and heralds her as a major talent. This significant creative progression is evident from the ominous opening bars of first track 'Love is in him'. Built around a simple, minimal acoustic guitar figure a... [Read on]
Posted in: Album reviews
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27
CODES
With blood pouring from her face, a girl stumbles into the surging crowd at a Christmas light’s fundraiser in a dingy pub in Ireland. Yes, that’s right. A fundraiser for Christmas lights. Surrounded by hundreds in fancy dress, neither the band on stage or the sweaty crowd took a second glance at the screaming girl. But she wasn’t reenacting the final scene from Carrie like the band thought, she had slipped, glassed herself and blended in with the rest of Freddy Krueger’s victims. “Nobody knew if she was for real or fake”, laughs singer Daragh. Fast forward two years, and CODES have graduated from playing to the meager and slightly bloody crowds of the dilapidated pubs of Meath, to the 11,000 strong crowds of The O2 in the capital. The four-piece, who formed in 2007 have had a pretty quick rise in popularity. Within the space of a few months, the indie-electronic group had two singles in The Irish Top 40, played a set at Oxegen and were asked to su... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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27
The Ambience Affair
Give us a bit of background to The Ambience Affair to this point. We met two years ago in a music shop in Dublin. I had been playing solo for about a year previous to that.I felt there was a need for something extra as the songs weren't progressing in a way that I wanted. I invited Marc to one of my solo gigs and we soon decided to form the band. Have there been any particularly memorably highs and lows thus far? High points would probably be some of the gigs we've been lucky to play. Our last EP launch tour was one filled with great moments. I think we've been very fortunate to not have had many lows at all so far. Sure, we've played the odd awful gig or two but in general, I can't think of much that made me question being in the band. Your stripped-down set of live self-sampling and looping have drawn many comparisons to pioneers like Owen Pallet. Do you think you draw a lot of influence from him and similar artists? I think that although ... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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27
We Are Scientists
Keith Murray and Chris Cain of US indie-rockers We Are Scientists often don’t take interviews all that seriously. It may have something to do with their way-out sense of humour (check out their website www.wearescientists.com – it’s insane) or it could simply be a way of entertaining themselves as they respond to questions they have heard countless times before. So it is with some trepidation that I phone Chris (above right), the band’s bassist and prankster-in-chief, at his home in New York for an interview about the new album and their upcoming plans for the year. As it turns out, he is relatively serious for once and is friendly and unfailingly polite throughout as we chat about his band’s excellent, return – to - form new album Barbara, how his ending up in a successful rock band is somewhat accidental and why Cardiff’s nightlife terrifies him…   So, are you happy with the new album Barbara? Does it differ in any way to the... [Read on]
Posted in: Interviews
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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]
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12
Craig Walker 'Siamese'
A review of the album 'Siamese' by Craig Walker Review Snapshot: Fifteen years after the demise of his former band - the brilliant Power Of Dreams - frontman Craig Walker returns with his debut solo-album. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Earlier this year, legendary Irish indie-rockers Power Of Dreams reformed for a series of ecstatically-received gigs in the UK and Ireland. It was to celebrate the 20th - anniversary of their magnificent debut album ‘Immigrants, Emigrants and Me’ which still sounds as vibrant and emotionally-engaging now as it did in the early Nineties, testament to the quality of the songs on it (written when the band’s songwriter and frontman Craig Walker was just 17 years-old). The fact that it’s taken almost fifteen years since the band split amicably in 1995 for his solo debut album to appear can’t be blamed on any sort of creative stagnation on his part. Instead of going on the obligatory so... [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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29
Josh Ritter (live in Dublin)
Josh Ritter (live in Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Josh Ritter played to a packed Grand Canal Theatre last night. A night of funny, yet entirely irrelevant stories, a suspected bouncing disorder, a whole lot of tweed, and great music. One to remember. The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10 Full Review: Having known very little about Ritter and his music before the gig, his first impression on me was positive: he was bouncy, enthusiastic, and not at all bored by performing to yet another packed venue. His smile was one that said he couldn’t be happier, or more amazed, that he was making a living out of this. Joined onstage by his Royal City Band, Ritter launched himself into 'Southern Pacifica' from the new album “So Runs the World Away”, bouncing around like a toddler on ecstasy. His energy made him instantly likeable. He was however let down by the intensity of the amplification at th... [Read on]
Posted in: Gig Reviews, Dublin
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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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13
A review of the album 'WHB' by We Have Band Review Snapshot: Three ex record label employees band together to produce an album with the dancefloor firmly in mind… The debut offering from two-boy, one-girl London-based trio We Have Band draws on an impressive array of influences, the result being an 80s-infused brand of modern day mix n’ match pop. Slick production and catchy melodies mean that WHB is an album which will command attention. With killer singles and a strong supporting cast of tracks, We Have Band are definitely ones to watch as we approach the summer festival season. The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10 Full Review: Winners of the Emerging Talent Competition at 2009’s Glastonbury Festival, disco-rockers We Have Band have gradually garnered a lot of attention in the run-up to their debut release. The back story alone is enough to intrigue – three ex-employees of EMI, with little experience between them, decide to get to... [Read on]
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