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Frightened Rabbit 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks'
A review of the album 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks' by Frightened Rabbit Review Snapshot: The Scottish five piece have returned with their much third anticipated album. The record sees them depart from the alt folk genre, currently saturated with bands like Mumford & Sons and Noah & the Whale. It was a potentially dicey move on their part, one that could have easily backfired. Frightened Rabbit doing shoe-gaze is not something that should have worked, but it ha. And it's far better than anyone could have thought. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks' is Frightened Rabbits third outing, and definitely a worthwhile one. The Scottish natives' notable departure from the Alternative/Folk genre, perfected on their previous album 'The Midnight Organ Fight', was a risk that has definitely paid off. The band that started out as a solo project has since swelled to five members... [Read on]
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30
Laura Marling 'I Speak Because I Can'
A review of the album 'I Speak Because I Can' by Laura Marling Review Snapshot: The second album from folksy songstress Laura Marling highlights why I fell in love with her music in the first place and why you should too. With a staggering lyrical and vocal ability and it’s near impossible to fault this album. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The first thing that strikes me about ‘I Speak Because I Can’ in comparison to Laura Marling’s debut ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ is that her voice seems to have gained a new strength and confidence. While ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ is nothing short of excellent, a lot of her vocals were quieter and much more timid. Now, it appears that 20-year-old Marling is more aware of her awe-inspiring talent, and has no qualms about using it to her full ability. The opening track on the album, and first single ‘Devil’s Spoke’ displays Marling’s incredible tal... [Read on]
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30
Ellie Goulding 'Lights'
A review of the album 'Lights' by Ellie Goulding Review Snapshot: Bland production, innocuous songs, unimaginative reheating of last year's mainstream breakthrough album - if this is the Sound of 2010, roll on 2011. The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10 Full Review: Critics Choice at the Brit Awards, BBC's Sound of 2010 winner - Ellie Goulding has a lot to justify with her debut album. What do you do if you're the next big thing? Sound as much as possible like the last big thing, it seems. From first note to last, 'Lights' is a blatant and relentless pitch at mainstreaming the anthemic electronic-folk-pop of Florence And The Machine. The production is coffee-table electronica from a catalogue - beats scurry brainlessly out of a box like lobotomised lab mice and all instrumentation is as unobstrusive as the sessioners playing it. The songwriting follows suit, adhering to what we can call the ... [Read on]
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30
Pilotlight (live in Dublin)
Pilotlight (Live in the Button Factory, Dublin) Review Snapshot: Pilotlight have a unique sound. Understated and expressive on the record, they are powerful and overstated live. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Pilotlight, a band from Dublin, launched their debut album entitled “The Post-War Musical” in The Button Factory on Feb 13th last. The four piece band has been based in London since 2008. They were in a jovial and excited mood. Not surprising as they’ve worked on this record for nine years, finally managing to put it together in a studio in France, under the guidance of producer Karl Odlum. The band began their set at nine-ish, belting out opener “All Purpose Underneath” and first single “Pulling on Doors that say Push”, which was the most radio friendly song I heard all night, containing some wonderful vocal harmonies and lead guitar work. This gig represented a first chance to showcase t... [Read on]
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27
Mumford and Sons (Live in Dublin)
Mumford and Sons (Live in The Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot: From an excessive three warm up acts and technical problems to egotistical roadies, my trip to see Mumford and Sons was not the folksy, joyful event the band’s image suggests. I was already indifferent to these fake folksy wannabe’s and the gig moved it from indifference to dislike.  The Cluas Verdict? 4/10 Full Review: I arrived at The Academy on Middle Abbey Street at about 7:50. When I reached the top floor where the band would play I heard the sounds of a sleepy American boy whining into his microphone and moaning on guitar. It might sound harsh but really, you’d agree. The following warm up act was so dull I have actually forgotten them. The warm up show didn’t really kick off until Oh Emperor, a folk/rock band hailing from Waterford. Though it was hard to find originality in their Muse/Jeff Buckley influenced work, they were charming and could really handle thei... [Read on]
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22
Duke Special 'The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen'
A review of the album 'The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen' by Duke Special Review Snapshot: Ireland’s most versatile and underrated musician excels with a trilogy of albums influenced by books, stage, and screen, covering a wide range of music genres that he masters with aplomb.  The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review: The opening album, Mother Courage and her Children is based on the 1930s anti-war play by Bertold Brecht, which Duke has added music to, and the violin on the opening Prelude sets the tone for this disc with haunting orchestral arrangements throughout ensuring that this is no comedy. From the title track, Duke manages to tell the story of the soldiers, and carries this track to a crescendo, a 21st Century 'A Day in the Life' perhaps. The beautiful ballad 'Yvette (song of fraternization)' is as good as anything Duke has written, while 'Soldier’s Song' is the most upbeat number ... [Read on]
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12
Pet Shop Boys 'Pandemonium'
A review of the live album/DVD 'Pandemonium' by Pet Shop Boys Review Snapshot: Over 100 minutes of pure bubble-gum pop, absorbed in a rainbow of multi-coloured lighting, with a combination of clever choreography, making this CD and DVD an aural and visual spectacle from the start. The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Love them or loathe them, you can’t help but have admiration for the Pet Shop Boys. Over 25 years in the music business and they still continue to come up with fresh ideas, both in their music and their presentation. Last year they released their 10th studio album, had another no. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, were awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Music at the Brits, and now they’ve released a CD/DVD of their Pandemonium Tour at London’s O2 Arena, barely six weeks after it was recorded. Wearing coloured boxes on their heads for the opener ‘Heart’, it’s a bowler hat and shades fo... [Read on]
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12
Norah Jones 'The Fall'
A review of the album 'The Fall' by Norah Jones Review Snapshot: A lot has changed about Norah. There is a real notion that she has grown up, and she wanted this to be heard in album number four. Produced by Jacquire King, who produced Tom Waits' 'Mule Variations', this album has a sound entirely new and long overdue. It may even reach some new followers who had previously ignored the presence of the docile piano and abundance of love ditties. The Cluas Verdict? 6 out of 10 Full Review: Followers of Norah Jones usually say it’s her velvet voice that started their love affair with her. Her voice may well be the only thing people will recognise on Norah’s latest release. Gone are the love tunes tinkled on piano, welcome is a much rockier, guitar-heavy mix of angry, bitter tunes. This, of course could be contributed to her split from long-time partner (and band mate) 18 months ago. This absence is sincerely felt in the ly... [Read on]
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10
C O D E S (live in the Academy, Dublin)
C O D E S (live in the Academy, Dublin) Review Snapshot:  C O D E S show once again why they are one of Ireland's best, if not best, live acts. The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10 Full Review:  Hearing that one of your favourite bands have split is a lot like being told by the vet that your dog has to be put down.  You realise that there must be a very good reason behind it, but you still don't want to accept it.  On hearing late last year that the Future Kings of Spain had abdicated their right to ascend the throne, I was devastated.  Never again would I be able to shout 'Play Meanest Sound!' during a set.  However, the blow was softened somewhat with the emergence of The Black Triangle, a band consisting of ex-members of the Future Kings of Spain (Karl Hussey and Bryan McMahon) and Bambi (Dan Barry). Now, while I'm still not sure whether their name refers to a particularly vehement branch of lesbian ... [Read on]
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09
David Bowie 'A Reality Tour Live in Dublin'
A review of the album 'A Reality Tour Live in Dublin' by David Bowie Review Snapshot: Possible the last ever Bowie Concert to be captured live, before an Irish audience who play their part in helping him deliver an outstanding performance of greatest hits and album classics.  The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10 Full Review: Just over six months after this live concert was recorded, Bowie suffered a heart attack and has since been taking it easy, so what we’ve got here could be one of his last official live recordings, and if it is, what a way to bow out. Recorded over two nights at Dublin’s Point Depot in November 2003 during his Reality Tour, Bowie gives a thumping performance consisting of his greatest hits and tracks from his recent Heathen and Reality albums.   The DVD edition of this concert was released a few years ago, but now for the first time we get a double cd of 33 tracks, three of which didn’t make ... [Read on]
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