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2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.

The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

13

A review of the debut album by The Gorgeous Colours

Gorgeous ColoursReview Snapshot: The debut from the Dublin-based four-piece is a solid, likeable indie-rock artifact. There’s nothing that’ll frighten the horses and it’ll sound satisfactory from a summer stage.

The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10

Full Review:
Many Irish indie fans first came across The Gorgeous Colours as the support act at shows by The Immediate, now-defunct next-big-things of season 2006-07. The two Dublin bands shared an alt-rock sound that will be classic for some, unoriginal for others. One can imagine how inconsolable Immediate fans, clutching their tear-stained ‘In Towers And Clouds’, will find much solace in The Gorgeous Colours’ debut.

In general, this record is a throwback to two familiar indie strands. You have the jaunty jangling of ‘Holey Moley’ and weak opening track ‘Means To An End’, where the band don’t quite pull off the breezy, cheeky-chappy attitude they seem to be aiming for.

By contrast, there’s a serious, emotive alt-rock side that’s emphasized by the mid-Atlantic twang to Geoffrey McArdle’s singing voice. The Gorgeous Colours sound surer of themselves on this ground – which is not to say that they’re always convincing; ‘I Don’t Know What To Do’ may mean well but it comes across as a exercise in writing something poignant (“All I know about hope/It don’t hang from no rope”) in minor chords.

Still, it’s no great leap of the imagination to figure that The Gorgeous Colours could build a strong live following on the back of this material. Neil Smyth’s guitar hooks on the likes of ‘Miss You’ and ‘Hunting Something’ have the ring of what would sound good at a summer festival or outdoor show. And the rhythm section – Tim Groenland on bass and Glenn L’Heveder on drums – is as sound as you’d demand from a decent live band.

However, this album’s recurrent dad-indie-rockness makes it sound a bit jaded in parts. The rolling country-rock of ‘The Rails’, for instance, will please fortysomething punters who reminisce about seeing The Fat Lady Sings in The Baggot Inn back in the day. Like a lot of this record, it’s pleasant and well-made but never catches fire. (This reviewer has the quaint notion that records should have catchy bits you sing in the shower and whistle on the way to work. We found none of that here.)

Ultimately, this is a solid debut but we reckon it may be a better experience live than on record. The Gorgeous Colours: the new Something Happens?

Aidan Curran


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