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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

This review was first published on CLUAS in 2004
Other albums reviewed in 2004


A review of their album 'Made in Sand'

There are changes occurring on the Irish music scene at the moment. Bands of mysterious guise and experimental sounds are suddenly cropping up everywhere. The Tycho Brahe, the Jimmy Cake and the Republic Of Loose are currently leading the charge in modifying an Irish scene that is over-crowded with singer/songwriters. Now the Alphastates have joined in with their mellow mix of indie-pop on their debut LP 'Made In Sand'.

Alphastates 'Made in Sand'The band, previously known as Babelfish, has produced an album of utterly delightful tunes. On the opening track 'Round Here' there is a harmonious and sexy appeal to Catherine Dowling's vocals. Her distinctive voice dominates each track with Gerry Horan and Stevie Kavanagh mostly playing backup throughout the albums entirety. In contrast to this, songs like 'Indian Sky' and 'What You Are' stand out due to Horan's lead guitar and Kavanagh's bass. It is an album that is well crafted and soaked with pleasing melodies. Its ability to hook will have you reaching for the repeat button, again and again.

The recent single 'Sometimes' has a magical feel to it along with 'Good Stuff' and 'Angel Kiss', where Dowling's sultry vocals soar. Every track, bar the forty-seven second 'Belvidere', has a charming quality that gives the album a satisfactory feel. The Alphastates have delivered a great debut album in 'Made In Sand'. The future looks bright not only for them but also for the Irish music scene. Watch out for them making big waves over the summer months of 2004.

Gareth Maher