The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Kevin Coleman'

22
Sounds of System Breakdown
Sounds of System Breakdown, the electronic, pop, dance rock brain child of Rob Costello released their debut album in January. Cluas caught up with Rob Costello from the band for a few words just prio...

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13
Jenny Huston
2FM DJ and broadcaster Jenny Huston wrote a book profiling Irish bands and artists on the up. The book is filled with interviews on how they got there, got dropped, got signed again and split - before...

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24

Review of EP released by Belfast band Yes Cadets

Cluas Snapshot: Fused pop, rock n roll, art house synthesisers & jumpy vocals make YES CADETS potential darlings of the UK music scene this year. The songs are snappy, catchy and the melodies delicious. YES CADETS are going to be big. Fast.

Cluas Verdict? 9/10YES CADETS

Full Review: YES CADETS formed in Belfast in 2008. Only a year in and they have on their hands a belter of an EP to flaunt their wares with. First things first, YES CADETS are not about ground breaking new styles of music. Make no mistake, there are elements of everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Gary Numan in here. The key thing for this reviewer is that the songs are quality. The EP has five tracks, and any of them could make the radio as a single.

Opener “Rufio” is bouncing, and infectious. Sweeping synth, constant drumming and a pop vocal that drags the listener in, it’s excellent. Lead single “Canada” continues in the same vein. Nice choppy guitar and synth intro swamped with sweet jumping vocals. It’s a constant beat, and addictive. “Burial/Tongues” is a little more early eighties but with the same synthesised pop intent. “Fashionista Art Party” has all the clever bouncing vocals and melodies that would make Franz Ferdinand jealous. It’s catchy, tight and brilliant. “H.O.T” finishes off the EP in style.

The true depth and mettle of YES CADETS will be tested with a long player release. However on these 4 tracks, they have achieved more than some acts manage in twenty. It’s vibrant, exciting altogether pleasurable stuff indeed.

Kevin Coleman


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20

Cluas Snapshot: Warpsichord is the debut from electro, experimental London based musician Alan MX. It’s different, complicated, and really very good. Electronic, dance, and occasionally pop, it’s a fine record and one to surely pick up pace this year.

Cluas Verdict? 7.5/10 Alan MX

Full Review: “Warpsichord” is littered with catchy loops mixed with delicate melodies and what sounds like millions of layered samples of vocals, synths, guitars, lasers, effects and whatever else he could find. If it sounds all over the place, it’s probably because it is. However each track sounds like 4 minutes of chaos that somehow pulls together. What results more often than not is altogether a pleasure to listen to.

“Warpsichord”, “Cuckoos”, “The Captain America Video” and “Green Tea” are unforgettable. “Cuckoos” is fast paced with an orchestral overture that would not seem out of place in a James Bond themed movie tune. “Captain America Video” doesn’t disappoint either. It’s acoustic guitar driven melody is backed by a thumping percussion, it’s a winner. “Flesh Emergency” with its synthesised melody continues the impressive start to the record. “Green Tea” in this reviewer’s opinion is the best track on the album. It’s an acoustic guitar tune riddled with a relentless drum beat. It’s a piece of perfect modern pop music, the meandering vocals bounce along to the acoustic/percussion driven backdrop.

The record doesn’t take a dive from here but the true quality lies firmly in the first half. “Frank’s Monster” is forgettable, “Strange Bird”, a life lament with a nice orchestral feel is just, well nice. “Chinese Whispers” and “God Song” complete the collection.

So what’s the verdict? Well “Warpsichord”, “Cuckoos”, “The Captain America Video” and “Green Tea” are unforgettable. It’s hard to decide what kind of record this is with regard to genre. It seems to borrow from everything, pop to electronica, rock n roll to dance.

Overall it’s an impressive debut and conveys Alan MX as a potentially serious player. He is extremely talented. He certainly has an open mind, anything and everything can be heard at one point or another on the album. The first half is nothing short of brilliant. Unlike the real thing, the energy levels seem to decline on the album after “Green Tea”.

Kevin Coleman

 


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08
The Beat Poets
Northern Ireland’s finest The Beat Poets release their new EP “The Making” this week (See in Album Reviews Section). I caught up with them recently to discuss their desire for world ...

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08
Joe Echo
Musician Ciaran Gribbin (aka Joe Echo) is embarking on a solo career after a successful stint with acclaimed NI band Leya. He’s recorded with Paul Oakenfold, he’s written tracks for soundt...

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25

The Beat Poets 'The Making' E.P

Beat Poets - The Making EPCluas Snapshot: They have the earnest heart on sleeve lyrics, big sound and bigger choruses; The Beat Poets are poised to be the finest purveyors of stirring rock in a long time. If it’s your thing, check them out.

Cluas Verdict? 7/10

Full Review: The Beat Poets are on the up. Their latest offerings have been picked up by MTV USA and the BBC amongst others. The title track “The Making” is getting a lot of airplay on the radio. Things are going good for the band touted by some to be potentially the biggest band from NI since Snooze (sorry Snow!) Patrol.

So what’s the E.P like? Well if a pumping rhythm, honest emotive lyrics and an audible yearning for a big sound is your thing? It’s great actually. If you don’t, it’s awful. It’s that simple. The title track “The Making” has elements of The Verve, U2 amongst others in the sound. It’s perfectly crafted as a popular rock song. A steady penetrative build up, culminating in a catchy melodic, big chorus. It's a definite radio hit, and if anything personifies the bands competence in song construction. Quite often there are bands with all the raw talent in the world, but have no idea how to construct a song. The Beat Poets are no such act. Despite the fact that the emotive lyrics may grate a little, the songs sound cohesive. It makes for good listening.

An acoustic version of one of the bands favourites “Bloodline” follows. Again it’s constructed perfectly, building verses around a melody on the up and then a chorus that hits the heights. “Race” could be on any U2 record between 1980 and 1983 and it’s no shame. This track’s strong point is the pulsating rhythm section. The bass line in particular drives the song. It’s more of the same style touted in the opener. It’s not bad at all.

If you like your stadium rock, and you want your front man to wear his heart on his sleeve then this is for you. Ok it’s not U2, but it’s not Snow Patrol either. “The Making” hits download and stores November 30th. In this reviewers opinion it’s worth a download, if even for curiosity, altogether solid stuff.

Kevin Coleman


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31

Cluas Snapshot: The Antlers’ second album is different. It’s a concept. The theme is tragic and complicated. It’s also phenomenally engaging musically and while one of the most difficult it’s also one of the interesting albums you’re likely to hear this year.

The Cluas Verdict? 8/10

HospiceFull Review: Hospice tells the story from Prologue to Epilogue of a couple’s journey through terminal illness, struggle, regret and grief amongst other things. It’s heavy. It’s very heavy in fact. The record opens with the grey overtone “Prologue” and even from this early stage, it’s clear the album could serve as a soundtrack for a movie. In fact a movie could be written using the story of the album. It slides gently into “Kettering”. The song describes one partner finding the other filled with tubes in a cancer ward. The “morphine alarms” sing and keep her sleeping. It narrates the anger felt by the patient towards the carer. It ends with one partner finding out the illness is terminal.

“Sylvia” begins in the same vein and then suddenly busts into life. Lyrically it’s virtually impossible to understand what’s been sung. The vocals are extremely low and this is my biggest criticism of the album. Musically it’s flawless but lyrically it’s impossible to engage with at times. I had to research the lyrics to find out what’s going on. Apparently it’s about the poet Sylvia Plath (the writer and poet who committed suicide by sticking her head in an oven and turning on the gas). This is described as detailed as this in the song. Musically it’s up and down, aggressive percussion and big horns, guitars and a charging rhythm. It’s actually a really catchy melody.

“Atrophy” is long, really long. 7 minutes 42 seconds long. It’s a slow mover. Again virtually impossible to hear what is being said. And for a concept album that is supposed to tell a story, it’s bloody annoying I can tell you. The listener wants to know what’s going on and musically it’s conveying the themes but the lyrics are inaudible at times.  Again through research I discovered a beautiful lyric that summarises the song well:  “I’m bound to your bedside, your eulogy singer”.

“Bear” is the first single off the album, and it’s incredible. It describes the couple in question going through the decision making process on whether they are capable of looking after a new baby.

“There’s a bear inside your stomach, a cub’s being kicking from within.
 He’s loud without the vocal cords; we’ll put an end to him.
 We’ll make all the right appointments; no one ever has to know,
And then tomorrow I’ll turn twenty one, we can script another show”.

The song goes on detailing the reality of a conflict between the couple regarding their maturity at handling the responsibility a baby brings. OK, so Silberman clearly doesn’t do things by halves. Thankfully the lyrics in this tune are audible, and mercifully so. It’s a fine song. “Thirteen” passes without incident.

“Two” however doesn’t. It’s a musical masterpiece. The acoustic intro draws the listener in, and the high low vocals of the verses merge with the drums as they kick in, fantastic. It’s the moment the doctor tells him that there is no hope for his partner and that “Enough is enough”. The song then compares how she had an eating disorder when she was younger and nobody noticed and excuses were made for it, her Dad was “an asshole”. It then goes on to describe their lives together, constant fighting in their room/home and marriage.

“There’s two people living in one small room, from your two half-families tearing at you,
Two ways to tell the story “no one worries”, two silver rings on our fingers in a hurry,

two people talking inside your brain, two people believing I’m the one to blame,
two different voices coming out of your mouth, while I’m too to care and too sick to shout”

“Shiva” comes right after death. “Suddenly every machine stopped at once, and the monitors bleeped one last time. Hundreds of thousands of hospital beds, all of them empty but mine”. It continues musically in the same vein, acoustic guitar and stirring vocals. It’s nearing the end of the road. “Wake” is the end. It’s the celebration or marking of her passing. Letting people in to remember and say goodbye.

It’s a very heavy record, and very thoughtful. At times it can be frustrating. It isn’t made easy for the listener, but the challenge is worthwhile. It’s one of the finest albums this reviewer has heard this year.

Kevin Coleman


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26
Yes Cadets
I recently caught up with up and coming Belfast electro pop foursome Yes Cadets prior to their performance at the HWCH festival in Dublin. Yes Cadets were only formed last summer but in a short space ...

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03

Psychonavigation Records Y9Review Snapshot: Keith Downey’s Ireland based brain child Psychonavigation Records celebrates its 33rd release since setting up nine years ago. It's testament that, in an industry where labels - like acts - come and go,  that Psychonavigation Records is not only still going, but growing too.

Cluas Verdict? 7/10

Full Review:
Psychonavigation Records was born out of the frustration of a DJ who wanted to get unsigned music out there. It joyfully heralds various acts and DJs alike and gives them a platform to release their music. It’s an admirable as well as a very successful venture and some of the fruits are in this Y9 (ninth year) anniversary compilation.

The first thing to note is that there is a broad spectrum covered in the record label. The opening track is a quiet atmospheric number from Buckminster Fuzeboard. It’s a nice opener. Nice percussion with a flute hook as an overtone. “Your Day in the Sun” by GEL-SOL follows. The sound of waves coming in act as a backdrop, unfortunately other than that it’s a monotone lazy affair. “What a Wonderful Life” from Roddy Monks raises the bar. It has a nice lick and a catchy beat drawing the listener. There’s a lot going on and it’s interesting. Three tracks in and I can honestly say it’s difficult to imagine this stuff being played in a club. It’s mood music. “What a Wonderful Life” would find a nice home on a soundtrack for Spa Treatment/Massages.

The record rolls on and the variation of the artists becomes evident on “Spinning” from Tiny Magnetic Pets. A nice delicate vocal hangs over a constant melody. It’s a pleasant track. “Miles and Miles” by Aza and Eoin is less eventful and plods along with little or no direction. Like most compilations, the highs are high and the lows are, well dull.

More highs that need checking out include Matthew Devereux represented here with “I Love You Like A Robot”. There is a tasty acoustic strings intro accompanied with an atmospheric backdrop melody. It’s one of the finest tracks on the record. Other highlights include the wonderful “Soulsearch” by Brawdcast, & R.S.A.G with “Talk Back Crawl Back”. These tracks really demonstrate the variety of the label, mixing electronica with soul and hip hop. Excellent stuff.

Much of the music on the compilation is carefully put together and testament to a guy who wanted to showcase what he saw as talent without a voice. Psychonavigation Records on this representation is a growing prospering label, rich with talent from all musical styles. Not just electronica and dance, but soul and a little hip hop too. Well worth checking out.

Kevin Coleman


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Nuggets from our archive

2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).