The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Aidan Curran'


A review of the album 'All The Lost Souls' by James Blunt

Review Snapshot: Alright. At least let's give this album a fair listen, okay? (A fair listen later) Ummm... it's conservative, unimaginative and over-polished M.O.R. soft-rock that takes strange pride in sounding 'classic' (i.e. old). We'll just have to accept that this is how the vast majority of people like their music. Good luck to them.

The Cluas Verdict? 1 out of 10

Full Review:
James Blunt All The Lost SoulsIf we are to go by the evidence by record-sales, the majority of music fans like their tunes to be reassuring, uncomplicated and familiar. They listen to music in order to unwind after a stressful day at work, a frustrating traffic-jam coming home, a final notice from the building society through the letterbox. Which is fair enough.

(And before indie fans start getting all superior, this is also why alternative radio stations have to fill their daytime schedules with endless Nirvana, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins from 15 years ago. Feeling better now?)

Anyway, over 11 million of Mr and Mrs Tense-Nervous-Headache have already reached for 'Back To Bedlam', the first album by the erstwhile Captain Blount (who covers 'Where Is My Mind?' live, Pixies fans! He's one of you!).

A lot of those eleven million were hooked by the histrionics of 'You're Beautiful', but new album 'All The Lost Souls' features nothing as blatantly manipulative as that mystifyingly popular single. Instead, most of the tracks (like first single '1973') are content to just snuggle under the warm blanket of soothing nostalgia and not disturb anyone in doing so. The arrangements (mostly mid-tempo piano) are anodyne and risk-free. This album is impressively single-minded in its pursuit of M.O.R. soft-rock/ballad fans, as if trying to win some sort of bet to be the most '70s-daytime-radio-sounding. We've no problem if people like this sort of music. To us it sounds shamefully conservative and cravenly unimaginative - but that's just us.

Blunt's lyrics are of the sub-Dylan angst-and-allegory variety - you really should look up the words to 'I Really Want You'; they're memorably bad (It starts "Many prophets preach on bended knee/Many clerics wasted wine").  But there are always people who'll find this poetic.

Strangely, he only ever makes passing reference to a potentially fascinating subject: Captain Blount served in Kosovo in 1999 and apparently led the British forces into Pristina. Yet he only ever offers tantalising glimpses of his experiences before lapsing into cliched, maudlin 'war is bad' dirges, with 'No Bravery' in his first album and this time around in 'Same Mistake': "And so I sent some men to fight / And one came back at dead of night / Said he'd seen my enemy?" / Said 'he looked just like me"'. Has the man really experienced war and come back as an artist who has absolutely no original insight to share with us?

What really puzzles us, though, is how anyone could love Blunt's high-pitched, whinnying voice, which by now just sounds like self-parody. But you know best, Blunt-lovers. Sincerely, perhaps one of you could explain his appeal to us...

Aidan Curran

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.

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Stepping off the train this morning for another hard day's contributing to France's GDP, we were a bit emotional on seeing the old cattle-wagon draw away. One gets fond of one's public transporter, like a partner who's familiar and dependable (and, as can be the way with partners, regularly ridden by half the town and beyond). For the next week or so, however, a ride's out of the question.

France's latest transport strike starts this evening. Unlike last month's few days of stoppage, no one's sure how long it will last and many fear a fortnight of trainlessness. The dispute over public pensions is still unresolved, and next Tuesday the train drivers' unions will be joined on the streets by the civil service and state agency unions. The transport workers have already been supported by the students' unions, who are protesting against planned university reforms. The students' preferred means of protest is to make for the nearest train station, occupy the train tracks and bring iron-horse traffic to a halt. Obviously, from today they'll need something more effective than sitting on idle rail lines.

We won't be too put out by the transport strike. Regular readers will know that your blogger is something of an athlete - and Château French Letter, overlooking the Seine, is only an hour's stroll from the day-job near Saint Lazare and the Opèra. More importantly, the weather forecast for the rest of the week says 'cold but dry'; nice one.

Spare a thought, however, for the live music community in Paris. To what lengths (literally) will punters go to see live shows during the coming strike-struck weeks? It just so happens that this week is a cracker for concerts. Even just counting the Irish visitors, this week there are Paris shows by Roisin Murphy, Sinead O'Connor, The High Llamas and Nina Hynes. Other attractive or high-profile shows include those by P.J. Harvey, Rachid Taha, The National, Josh Ritter, Souad Massi, Les Rita Mitsouko, Femi Kuti, Lucinda Williams and Vanessa Paradis.

However, big-name shows may not be so badly affected because ticket-holders won't want to see their money wasted (and in the case of P.J. Harvey, that's €74 or so). It'll be the smaller shows and venues that'll take the hit. During the strike, 'walk-up' punters (i.e. those who pay at the door) will be both literally walk-up and relatively few. Band nights will especially suffer, as they depend on walk-up punters and venue regulars.

Nina Hynes, for instance, is heading the Saturday night line-up at La Flèche d'Or, where entry is free. No ticket means no commitment to go, so even die-hard regulars may be tempted to give Saturday night a miss if it means having to walk for ages there and back. You see, the Flèche is a good distance from the city centre, too far even for your marathonian blogger to foot it. Other popular venues in the same 20th arrondissement district face the same problem. However, the area is home to a young demographic for whom, conversely, it'll be too far to go to the city centre, and so venue-owners are hoping that gig-goers will shop locally this Saturday - and subsequent Saturdays too.

With Paris hotels reporting cancellation rates of up to 25% this week, there's the silver lining for the dark cloud hanging over the leisure and entertainment industry in the French capital this week.

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Review Snapshot: The balladeering Dubliner distinguishes himself from the singer-songer crowd with a second fine album of charming melodies, intriguing lyrics and a sincere, likeable approach to songwriting that's worthy of the Salmon Of Knowledge (ask your primary school teacher).

The CLUAS Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review:
Mumblin Deaf Ro Herring and the BrineRonan Hession's nom de rock suggests that he's some sort of gnarled old Delta bluesman, when in actual fact Mumblin' Deaf Ro writes acoustic pop tunes. "So far, so what?" says you - Ireland is fairly well stocked with singer-songers; no fear of a sudden shortage. And if you should lose one, well... the next one will do just as well; they tend to be interchangeable. Can Hession be any different to the mass of Tanglewood-bashers in Eire?

"Yes" is the answer to that, thank God. Mumblin' Deaf Ro's 2003 debut, 'Senor My Friend...', received enthusiastic notices (the CLUAS review prominent among them) for its witty, catchy and thoughtful songs. The album made Hession something of a cult figure, and its follow-up should consolidate that - 'The Herring And The Brine' is a fine record.

For many, Hession will be an acquired taste. His style is that of a balladeering minstrel - simple tunes arranged sparingly, sung with the plain, innocent voice of a poor Dickensian orphan. Opening track 'The Drowning Man', for instance, is not so much sung as recited sing-song-style like a primary school poem.

The simple, naive delivery is in contrast to the craft and complexity of his lyrics. Characters (a doubting clergyman, a Central American ex-president, a fish-packing "reformed rake") tell their sories and reveal their thoughts and fears. This may all sound pretentious to some, and Hession certainly risks Julian Gough-style smug showing-off. But Mumblin' Deaf Ro never falls into that trap - his lyrics wear their learning with good humour and genuine sincerity.

One example will suffice. Even from its title 'What's To Be Done With El Salvador?' looks like trouble and when Hession (as the deposed president) sings "Don't let the country that I loved but let down / Fall into pieces / Splinter in the hands of a confederation" it all sounds clumsy and forced. Then the song changes up a gear and floors you with the catchiest economic dissertation this side of David McWilliams: "If you don't protect the currency / The people can't live / But the foreign trade suffers / And the country goes adrift". All served on a lovely little melody. It's thrilling stuff, and this album is full of such charming moments.

"All very well for the words, like", says you again, "but what about the choons, man?" Well, fortunately Hession crafts melodies that are just as lilting and likeable as his lyrics. Admittedly his voice is a wee bit limited in range, which probably holds him back from writing stronger hooks. That said, the voice he has is perfectly suited to the intimate, conversational stories he tells. And the arrangements are fresh and lively, shown to the best effect by Peter Sisk's fine production job.

'The Herring And The Brine' is a charming and accomplished acoustic pop album, and Mumblin' Deaf Ro has a refreshingly good-humoured and thoughtful approach to making music. He may yet make Irish singer-songers respectable again.

 Aidan Curran

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Thomas TruaxLast night your blogger went to the Flèche d'Or in Paris to see New York singer-songer Thomas Truax. Nothing strange in that, says you.

Well, in fact, everything about this man is bizarre. First, his music is of a genre he calls 'steampunk'. Furthermore, he plays his steampunk on the most unlikeliest contraptions - instruments that he made himself.

For instance, there's the Hornicator - a gramophone horn fitted up with a microphone and the type of sound-making gadgets you'd find in a Christmas cracker or a Kinder egg. There's also the Sister Spinster, a sort of spinning-wheel drum machine. Then there's the Stringaling, which (as the name suggests) is a roll of string with a tom-tom, ventilation tube and lots more little gadgets attached. (He also plays a rather conventional steel guitar - but with the spinning blades of a little plastic fan.)

And the man himself has the lanky, wild-eyed look of David Byrne or Kramer from 'Seinfeld'. Between songs he reaches for another queer instrument and continues talking to the audience even when he's away from the microphone and no one can hear him.  His performance sometimes stretches 'quirky' into 'irritating' - during 'Full Moon Over Wowtown' he does the tired old down-from-the-stage, play-in-the-audience, run-around-the-room routine. God punishes him by having him miss a step and fall on his arse.

Thomas Truax with his Hornicator (Sister Spinster in background)But, for the most part, Truax is highly entertaining. His instruments are genuinely fascinating in their ingenuity and intricacy; more importantly, they sound fresh and intriguing. As for his songs, some are a bit too self-consciously oddball ('The Butterfly And The Entomologist' drags on and gets boring) but plenty others are catchy, witty and a little bit scary in their skewed world-view. We're reluctant to used that much-abused word 'genius', but there's certainly something special about this man: he reminds us a little of our beloved Jonathan Richman.

Truax toured around Ireland earlier this year, as support to Duke Special (who also played in Paris last night) - did any of our readers see these shows? The American, resident in England, has no concerts upcoming in Ireland, unfortunately - and without the visual impact of his instruments, his recordings just don't capture the essence of his act.

You can listen to some Truax tracks on his MySpace page, and you can find out more about his music and inventions on his website. Here's the video for our favourite song of his last night, 'Prove It To My Daughter'. Chapeau to Louisa and Céline for bringing your blogger along to see him:

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DionysosYour blogger generally has a backlog of CDs to listen to, and is usually quite methodical about it - new music to the bottom of the pile, the back of the line, while the older stuff gets played first. It's our token attempt at being professional.

However, today the new album by French band Dionysos (right), 'La Mécanique Du Coeur', got to skip the queue, slip inside the velvet rope, step in ahead of the ordinaries.

Eric CantonaWhy? Well, it's not every record that features Le Roi himself, Eric Cantona. And there he is on the very last track, 'Epilogue'. Our heart skipped a beat; we skipped right to the end of the album...

Alas, Eric doesn't sing on this track; his contribution is spoken word. 'La Mécanique Du Coeur' is based on a novel by Dionysos singer Mathias Malzieu that tells the story of a dreamy romance in a dark, nightmarish world (similar to Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'). Cantona's role is merely as storyteller, to wrap up the tale in the manner of his other profession: actor (he's been getting positive reviews recently for his performance in crime flick 'Le Deuxième Souffle').

Anyway, the album is a fine one - dreamy, imaginative cabaret-pop (that's cabaret like Kurt Weill, not cabaret like Sonny Knowles) that fans of Regina Spektor, Rufus Wainwright or Duke Special would like. Malzieu's voice is a bit thin for the topsy-turvy melodies he crafts, but it's his collaborators who make this record special. Apart from Eric, there are impressive turns by French chanteuse Olivia Ruiz (Malzieu's partner), venerable actor Jean Rochefort, and the marvellous Emily Loizeau (yes, we're raving about her again, we know. We can't help it).

You can listen to some extracts from 'La Mécanique Du Coeur' on its dedicated MySpace page. This promo for the album will give you an idea of what it sounds like:

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Back in September the Irish invaded Paris for the Rugby World Cup - and look how well that went. Your blogger is only just getting over the trauma of it (mostly by being distracted by the equal trauma of Mr Staunton's attempts to manage our national football team). Anyway, passons.

Next stop, Paris: Duke SpecialNovember sees an Irish invasion of a different - and hopefully more successful - kind. Yes, it's the turn of our pop stars to take over the French capital. Go on Ireland!! Allez les verts!!

Most of these visitors are no strangers to Paris. French Letter favourite Duke Special (right) played a fantastic show at the Nouveau Casino back in May - and next week he's back, playing at the Grand Rex on 6 November as support to another of our favourites, Emily Loizeau

The Grand Rex is a very prestigious and plush venue, not to mention large (over 2,000 seats), all of which means great French exposure for the Duke, a.k.a. Peter Wilson. Expect a guest appearance by Loizeau during Duke's set; the pair have been writing and recording together of late. We'll never get tired of raving about Duke Special and Emily Loizeau.

Nina HynesAnother frequent visitor to Paris (and former resident here) is astro-pop princess Nina Hynes (left). Currently living in Berlin, Nina and her band The Husbands released the fine album 'Really Really Do' earlier this year.

One of this blog's first posts was on Nina's April show at the Flèche d'Or, where severe technical problems failed to spoil a very impressive set - and Nina will be taking a chance on the Flèche's sound-desk again, on 17 November.

Sinead O'ConnorSinead O'Connor was also in France recently - she played at the Interceltique Festival in Lorient this summer. For the winter season she's swinging round by Paris for a show at the Casino de Paris on 13 November.

The French press gave very appreciative reviews to her latest album, 'Theology', and she regularly plays large venues in Paris, so it's safe to say that the French still have a soft spot for Ireland's most famous chanteuse.

Dolores O'RiordanAnother famous Irish femme de rock, Dolores O'Riordan (left), visits Paris on 21 November for a show at the Olympia - perhaps the city's best indoor venue in terms of sound quality, and certainly the best-loved.

Like the Grand Rex and the Casino de Paris, the Olympia is large, so if she fills it then Dolores will certainly be making a go of her post-Cranberries career.

Finally, one more Irishwoman - the disco-tastic Roisin Murphy (below right). The former Moloko-person is playing at the Nouveau Casino in Paris on 13 November (the same night as Sinead O'Connor's Paris show across town), La Laiterie in Strasbourg the following night and Maison Folies in Lille the night after that.

Roisin MurphyYou may have heard about Roisin's bizarre onstage mishap in Moscow recently, where she hopped her head off a chair and damaged an eye socket. Happily, she's said to be recovering well and her November dates will go ahead as scheduled.

Roisin's current album, 'Overpowered', is her second post-Moloko solo record. From it, here's the title track. Is this Ireland's sexiest woman?





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Tender Forever is the musical project of a Bordeaux-born, US-based singer called Melanie Valera.

Melanie Valera of Tender ForeverAlas, she's a mere 'de' short of achieving massive curiosity and instant fame in Ireland. Imagine her playing at the Fianna Fail Ard-Fheis, for example. And who better for the Phoenix Park big top than the near-namesake of Aras an Uachtarain's illustrious former tenant?

However, as 'de' means 'of' in French, your blogger has been getting a strange thrill in reading French magazine articles about 'le nouveau disque de Valera', 'le son electro-folk de Valera' and so forth.

Hopefully mademoiselle Valera will find fame in Ireland regardless of her unfortunate 'de'-lessness. Tender Forever make the sort of idiosyncratic electro-folk-pop that should appeal to fans of Bat For Lashes, Feist and the like.

Valera has just released her second album, 'Wider'. We've no idea if she's aware of how evocative her name is in Ireland - and she has no Irish shows in the near future, so we can't gauge the reaction she might get.

Still, you can listen to some tracks off 'Wider' on her MySpace page. Here's the video for 'How Many':

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Fans of good music and great music writing will have spotted this year's new and expanded edition of 'The Dark Stuff', Nick Kent's collection of his more memorable articles.

Nick Kent The legendary music writer has been living in Paris since the early '90s, and these days he contributes occasional articles to The Guardian and its French counterpart, Libération. He also works on scripts for TV music shows - most notably 'Rapido', the innovative Anglo-French music show from the late '80s.

As a result, Kent is in a good position to offer his insight into French music - so it's interesting to see that the 2007 edition of 'The Dark Stuff' includes among its new articles a piece on France's greatest pop icon, Serge Gainsbourg.

The essay, originally published in The Guardian in April 2006, tells the story of Kent's only encounter with Gainsbourg, in the winter of 1988 when Serge was suffering the decline of both his talent and health. The two men crossed paths in fairly improbable circumstances; both were judges at a film festival in the Alpine ski resort of Val d'Isère (Sex Pistols documentarist Julien Temple was another judge).

 The English writer admits that, at the time, his knowledge of the French singer was limited to (strangely enough) Gainsbourg's film appearances and (more obviously) 'Je T'Aime (Moi Non Plus)', pop's most notorious Number One.

Kent paints an unflattering picture of Gainsbourg. Apparently aware of his irreversible slide into decrepitude, the ageing Gallic icon spends the week-long festival making an absolute show of himself and pushing his hosts' adoration to its limits. He throws screaming fits when told to stop smoking in no-smoking areas, stumbles drunkenly from one engagement to the next, and holds court at the bar nightly with yes-men and flunkies.

Serge Gainsbourg Anyone looking for some words of insight from the doomed Frenchman will, like Kent, be disappointed - the writer couldn't understand any of Gainsbourg's slurred and drunken attempts at speech. "He looked (Kent writes) absolutely terrible - his face and body utterly polluted from alcohol abuse, his eyes ugly unfocussed slits, his voice a sneerful rasping whisper." As an encounter between France's greatest pop songwriter and England's greatest music journalist, it was a crushing anti-climax.

 But Kent, always with a sharp eye out for a peek into the dark heart of his rock stars, still crafts an intimate view of Gainsbourg. At the screening of music documentary 'Imagine' Gainsbourg bawls self-indulgently at the image of John Lennon's murder; Serge "knew he was going to die soon", says Kent rather fancifully; "there was absolutely no doubt about this."

Gainsbourg lived on for just over two years more, eventually passing away on 2 March 1991 after a heart attack. As for Kent, he met his future wife at the Val d'Isere festival and moved to Paris soon after. He ends his article by graciously praising the quality of Gainsbourg's musical legacy, but expresses his fears that the worst aspects of the alcoholic Frenchman's boorish behaviour
(exemplified by his TV chat-show encounters with Whitney Houston and Catherine Ringer, singer with Les Rita Mitsouko) were being glossed over by his devotees.

From a writer whose stock in trade is to lay bare just that sort of tragic and sordid detail, this is hardly surprising on Kent's part. However,
in France those notorious '80s chatshow clips of Gainsbourg have reached the infamy of, say, George Best's drunken appearance on 'Wogan', and it would be hard for anyone to not be aware of both Gainsbourg's peerless music and Gainsbourg repeatedly calling Ringer a 'whore'. Outside France, where these clips are never seen, that's a different matter. That said, it's simply a fact that our society mythologises dissolute and tragic artists, often at the expense of paying due critical attention to their work. And some would argue (perhaps unfairly) that Kent himself has contributed to this.

Nonetheless, however obnoxious Gainsbourg may have been as a person in his later years, the music of his mid '60s to late '70s heyday has kept a Dorian Gray-like freshness and beauty.

If you already have the original edition of 'The Dark Stuff' you can check out the online Guardian version of Kent's article on Gainsbourg. The most appropriate Serge song right now is probably 'Requiem Pour Un Con'; 'con' is the French equivalent of calling someone a c*nt. Who says this blog isn't educational?

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Your blogger's chosen sport (and yes, it was a conscious choice) is long-distance running, including the Dublin Marathon in 2004 and the 2007 Paris Marathon last April.

So, just a quick word of support for any CLUAS readers taking part in the Dublin Marathon 2007 on Monday (a bank holiday for you, but not for us in France - our day off is next Thursday, 1 November).

And if our encouragement isn't enough, you can always follow the example of rock's greatest marathon runner, Joe Strummer - the Clash singer ran in two London marathons (see picture evidence below right) and (like your blogger) the Paris Marathon, the latter in 1982 during his 'disappearance' in April of that year.

By now you'll have done all your training, but there are still some valuable tips to bear in mind for this last weekend and the big day itself:

  • I fought the wall: Joe Strummer running the London Marathon in 1981...Try to relax and get plenty of sleep tonight and Saturday night. Chances are you won't sleep at all on Sunday night with all the excitement, nerves and getting up in time for the early start to the race.
  • Drink plenty of water this weekend, during the race and afterwards. Don't drink too much in one go - a little water regularly is much better. It goes without saying that you should stay off the beer this weekend - alcohol and caffeine are diuretics (in plain English, they make you want to go to the toilet and lose all your body's water).
  • Eat a good, solid, healthy meal the night before - this will be your fuel for the race. On Monday morning have your usual breakfast (unless it's Jack Daniels over cornflakes) around three hours before the start of the race. Yes, this means getting up at the crack of dawn; no one said the marathon was easy.
  • To avoid cramp, a lot of seasoned marathon runners take a couple of bicarbonate of soda tablets just before the race. Your chemist will have some. Glucose tablets are also a good source of energy during the race. Eating solid food during the race isn't a good idea unless you think you'll be longer than 4 hours.
  • Rub some Vaseline between your toes, on your inner thighs, nipples and shoulder blades to...and again in 1983. prevent very painful chafing. An ordinary T-shirt will get soaked with sweat, weigh you down and chafe you - try to wear a running singlet or a breathable running/sports top.
  • Arrive at the start in good time. In the hour before the race you should jog for five minutes to warm up your muscles.
  • Make sure your number is displayed clearly on your front (not on your back!) so that the course photographers can take some excellent pictures of you in athletic action.
  • During the race, make sure you take a bottle at every water station, and have a drink even if you don't feel you need it. By the time you're thirsty it's too late - you're already dehydrated. This weekend, practise drinking while running. There are two actions involved - first, fill your mouth with water; second, swallow. Not as easy as it sounds. The water/feeding stations are usually slippery underfoot, so be very careful - watch out for those orange skins!
  • If you feel unwell during the race, slow down or stop. There's no shame in finishing the marathon by walking.
  • You'll ache for the following couple of days! The best remedy is to keep active - swimming is probably the best and least painful way to recover. Laying up in front of the television will only make the pain worse.
  • Have someone at the finish to meet you - and celebrate with you! It's really motivational to know that there's someone waiting at the finish line for you.

The Dublin Marathon always attracts large numbers of supporters along the way, especially through Dolphin's Barn and Rialto (where it feels like those crazy mountain stages of the Tour de France). The sense of accomplishment afterwards is immense.

Good luck - and enjoy the marathon!

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There's no verb in French for 'to rock'. Amazingly, the likes of Voltaire, Zola, Proust and Camus somehow overcame this obstacle in writing their classic works. This only serves to prove their resourcefulness and genius, of course.

The Answer

By contrast, Downpatrick band The Answer depend for their very existence on the verb 'to rock' - for how else could they describe themselves, express themselves, BE themselves? It's an existential conundrum worthy of the intellectual cafés of Paris, the city where the Norn Iron foursome happen to find themselves these days.

Not for them, however, some poncy philosophical Left Bank café. When The Answer want coffee (and maybe a sticky bun with it), they'll settle for no less than the Hard Rock Café. The Café of Rock. Not soft rock, molten rock or kinda-sorta-semi-solid rock, but Hard Rock. Rock!

[Sorry. We'll stop that.]

Tonight The Answer continue their French detour from their current jaunt around Holland - they're playing an acoustic gig in the aforementioned H.R.C. on the Boulevard Montmartre (which, as our Paris-loving readers will know, is not in Montmartre). Wouldn't it be gas, right, if they met a man called Pierre, because 'pierre' means stone, and they like rock, and he's French, and... ah, forget it.

Their plugged-out show tonight follows their support slot with American band Black Stone Cherry (keeping with their love of rock in all its forms) at the Trabendo last night. The lads also supported The Rolling Stones (see what we mean?) in Dusseldorf last week as late replacements for Amy Winehouse, whose favourite type of rocks would probably be [Snip! - CLUAS Legal Department]

The Answer got considerable exposure in the Paris press today - commuter freesheet Metro (the fine French equivalent of what you in Dublin litter the DART with) featured the band in an interview ("Q: Who would you like to collaborate with? A:  A girl!") and full colour spread, including a photo of them backstage at a recent  London gig with Jimmy Page. By contrast, Paul McCartney's show at the Olympia last night (tickets on sale earlier that day, one per person - cue pandemonium on the streets of Paris) only got an article half the size.

Does this mean that The Answer are twice as good as the man who wrote Let It Be? Decide for yourself by visiting the band's MySpace page ("Influences: ... Van Halen, Motley Crue...") and website (motto: Keep Believin') to check out some of their tunes. They're currently promoting their re-released debut album 'Rise' - from it, here's their single 'Under The Sky':

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Nuggets from our archive

2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.