The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Album Reviews

04
Midlake 'The Courage of Others'
A review of the album 'The Courage of Others' by Midlake  Review Snapshot: Texan band Midlake are a rare find. The lead vocals are strong, yet haunting, mellow yet powerful....

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03
Pilotlight 'The Post War Musical'
A review of the album The Post War Musical by Pilotlight Review Snapshot: The Post War Musical is a beautiful debut record from an Irish band who have aren't afraid to explore old themes with ...

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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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14
Beach House 'Teen Dream'
A review of the album 'Teen Dream' by Beach House Review Snapshot: Beach House's third album is a full of gentle melodies, rich in Autumn tones, and heavy on&n...

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14
Various Artists 'Dublin's Unsigned, the Best Of'
A review of the compilation album 'Dublin's unsigned: the best of' Review Snapshot: "Dublin's unsigned: Best of" showcases the raw talent of Dublin music's under...

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01

A review of the 'Twilight Saga: New Moon Music' soundtrack

Twilight Saga, New Moon MusicReview Snapshot: An album that would most likely be passed over by many because of the film it comes from, this soundtrack is an extremely pleasant surprise. With tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Grizzly Bear (to name a few), this soundtrack is for fans of music, not just fans of the Twilight extravaganza.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review:
This album is a complete surprise for many of us with preconceived notions about the Twilight franchise. The mentions of "sparkling" vampires and teen love are the subject of many a jeer from those above such nonsense, so when someone says: "the soundtrack for New Moon is actually quite good", it's fair enough to be a more than a little disbelieving.

The opening track, and theme tune to the movie, is "Meet me on the Equinox" by Death Cab for Cutie. The song, having been written for a vampire romance, is a tale of love - "Let me lay beside you darling / Let me be your man" - but also warns ominously that "everything ends".

The album continues to impress with second track "Friends" by Band of Skulls, a somewhat more upbeat track, and "Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke.

Thom Yorke on a Twilight soundtrack? Yes, it is quite remarkable, and this previously unreleased song is somewhat different from his usual, possibly in the hopes to appeal to a wider audience. Perhaps the many teenage girls that will buy this soundtrack? Abandoning irregular time signatures and strange effects, Yorke opts instead for a more subtle approach and the result is a haunting, low pitched piece with the ability to resonate with any listener.

Then, we arrive at track four: Lykke Li's "Possibility". There's a possibility that this is my personal favourite song on the album (cheesy pun definitely intended). The repeated crashing of piano chords, and her echoing vocals tell the tale of love's end, a similar story to the opening track. An extremely emotional song, "Possibility" could leave you with shivers - assuming you have a heart.

The album continues with a song from The Killers, which is much like the rest of their work, and will be liked by fans of the band. "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina is a beautifully simple acoustic, and definitely worth more than one listen.
The entire album is extremely well done, particularly when you consider the film it comes from. However, the first half definitely overshadows the second, and after Muse's "I Belong To You" (which, quite frankly, left me a little cold), the album seems to drift away. It is saved by the fact that Bon Iver and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club both contribute a song, and there is of course "No Sound But The Wind" by Editors, which is wonderfully epic.

Unfortunately, they simply had to throw in a bit of an instrumental piece at the end, to remind us that this did, in fact, come from a film about teenage vampires. On the subject of "The Meadow", well, if you have the CD, don't bother listening to this bit of orchestral nonsense. If you download the album? Delete it.

Aoife Kiely


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30
Channel One 'Sound To Light'
A review of the album 'Sound To Light' by Channel One Review Snapshot: The intriguing and likeable blend of electronica and shoegazing by this Dublin quartet will attract listeners from al...

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05
Switchfoot 'Hello Hurricane'
  A review of the album 'Hello Hurricane' by Switchfoot Review Snapshot: After jumping ship from major label Sony and creating their own indie label called lower case people ...

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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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Nuggets from our archive

1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.