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Old 03-12-2012, 06:35 PM   #1011 (permalink)
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The worm has it on good authority that the Boss won't be reviewing any U2 albums this Irish Week (considers that too obvious, apparently, and has a lot of other Irish acts to feature), but no harm in spinning "one" of their songs here, is there?
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:40 AM   #1012 (permalink)
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The man from Ballyshannon

We're keeping reviews of albums by him back for one of our big sections later in the year, but we would be remiss on this Irish Week if we did not include some examples of the fine work of the late Rory Gallagher.

Something from his excellent album “Top priority”, this is one of his many classics, “Follow me”.


All the way back to 1971 now, for a real blues boogie, this is “In your town”.


From one of his last albums, 1987's “Defender”, the opening track, “Kickback City”.


The first Rory album I heard was “Against the grain”. Have to admit that when I listened to it first I wasn't that impressed by it, though now I can see how special it is. This is one of my favourite tracks from it, one called “Out on the western plain”.


Two years back now, to 1973, the album “Tattoo”, and a great track that became a classic and a live favourite, it's “A million miles away”.


But of course what Rory did best was live work, and here he is with one of his standards, “Moonchild”.


And the excellent “Shinkicker”


One from maybe one of his weaker albums, in my opinion, “Jinx”, this is “Bourbon”.


From Rory's last ever album, “Fresh evidence”, a great track called “Ghost blues”.


Yeah, I could play Rory all day, but as I say I will be delving much deeper into his music in a special in the not-too-very-distant future. For now I'd like to close with one of my all-time favourites of his, it's a slower number but I really like it. From “Photo finish”, this is “Overnight bag.”
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:07 PM   #1013 (permalink)
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Bloodless coup --- Bell X1 --- 2011 (Bellyup)


Formed from the ashes of Juniper, the first band to feature a man who would later go on to solo fame and glory, one Damien Rice, Bell X1 take their name from Chuck Yeager's supersonic aircraft of the same name (though with a hyphen inserted), the first aircraft to break the sound barrier. They have become very successful in the USA, are loved in Ireland but have generally failed to crack the UK market. “Bloodless coup” is their fifth and most recent album, and just last week missed out on scooping the prestigious Meteor Choice Music Award, having been shortlisted but beaten to it by Jape.

We get underway with “Hey Anna Lena”, electronic keyboards and drum machines ushering in the sound with a lush, luxuriant feel until the vocals of Paul Noonan, who also plays guitar, drums and kazoo (?) slides in like a cool, refreshing stream, soothing and cool, soulful and elegant. A nice little understated bass line keeps the time as the song slips along on soft feet, carried mostly on the keys until Dave Geraghty's guitar makes its presence known, adding a harder, sharper layer to the song without changing it that drastically. Dramatic and urgent, it's a great opener, and it's followed by the first single to be taken from the album, “Velcro”, with an electro/dance beat and a very clear sense of Talking Heads, which has been remarked upon before, but I only really hear the David Byrne influences now.

Much more uptempo than the opener, it's a good choice for a single, with some very Gary Numan-style synth, and some nice breakout guitar from Geraghty. I'm not certain who plays the keyboards, as Geraghty is credited with “electric piano”, but whether he also plays the keyboards as well as the guitar is debatable. Anyway, whoever plays them does a great job, and they're certainly central to the music of Bell X1. “Nightwatchmen”, in contrast though, is built on a gentle acoustic guitar melody with accompanying electric guitar, a hard half-ballad with real bite, a great vocal performance by Noonan, who approaches the passion and intensity of Bono at his most intense.

The keyboards and synths are back in force for the more gentle “Sugar high”, and I hear echoes of a-ha's Morten Harkett in there. Nice solid percussion, with more very Talking Heads keyboard noises and melodies, with indeed a real flavour of the Cars, or at least Ric Ocasek in evidence too. Heavy bass introduces “Built to last”, which starts slowly and builds on a nice electric piano line and echoing percussion, then “4 minute mile” is quite funky, with slap bass and wah-wah keyboard sounds, shuffling along in quite a Prince manner --- that could be Paul Noonan's mentioned kazoo sound there. Like I said, funky!

This theme then continues on through “Safer than love”, with handclaps and bassy keys, some nice high-register melodies on the keyboards, again very Tubeway Army-like, while acoustic guitar and some banjo or mandolin merge with some really nice piano for “The trailing skirts of God”, which kicks up into a nice mid-pacer a minute or so in, and would probably make a good second single. Paul Noonan's vocal is a little more restrained here, with the lyric seeming to contain the title of the album, thereby I guess making this as close to the title track as we're going to get. It's certainly worthy of the honour, one of the standouts so far.

The oddly-named “Haloumi” reminds me of Matt Johnson, specifically around the time of “Mind bomb” or “Naked self”, with whistling keyboards and thumping bass, Noonan's voice going into a sort of falsetto here. Nice gentle guitar intro to “74 swans”, marching-style percussion cutting in but the song still stays fairly laidback, although there hasn't really been anything yet that I would point to as an actual ballad, and this is not one either. I doubt there will be one, as there is only one track left to go. It doesn't detract from the album, but still, would have been nice to have experienced.

The album closes with what is in fact the longest track on the album, at just over six and a half minutes, and is also not on every release of the album, seen as a bonus track. It's on my copy though, and just as well, as it's the ballad I've been waiting for. Beautiful blues intro as “Amsterdam says” gets underway with truly gorgeous strings (made on the synth, yes, but it doesn't make the sound any the less beautiful), an understated vocal from Noonan backed by some lovely electric piano, the strings coming back in to take the whole thing up into the clouds, kissing the roof of Heaven, then right back down to earth for a superb guitar solo. Noonan's voice gets more urgent and intense as the song winds on, the passion evident in his singing, the strings backing him and echoing his frustration and despair. The ultimate breakup song? Quite a possibility.

After having listened to this --- for the first time --- all I can say is Jape better have made one hell of an album, because how this lost out on the top prize I am at a loss to say. Also, how this kind of music is ignored by the UK market is another mystery, but hey, it's they who are losing out. The original Bell X-1 may have broken the sound barrier, but the band Bell X1 are breaking down barriers of their own, and soon there should be none left for them to surmount.

Bravo, guys.

TRACKLISTING

1. Hey Anna Lena
2. Velcro
3. Nightwatchmen
4. Sugar high
5. Built to last
6. 4 minute mile
7. Safer than love
8. The trailing skirts of God
9. Haloumi
10. 74 swans
11. Amsterdam says
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:43 PM   #1014 (permalink)
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Page 7

One of the most interesting and best pages that I've seen so far! That title track "Crime of the Century" from the Supertramp album of the same name, is one of the most absorbing listens that I know of, its dark and powerful and always hits me hard. In general I was always more of a fan of the Roger Hodgson compositions, but every now and again the Rick Davies compositions could be very powerful and brilliant.

Saw Adagio on the list, never heard of them before but from what I've read, it would seem that I would like them especially if the singer sounds like Dio.

Diamond Head: Just the mention of them gets my pulse racing, without doubt the finest band of the NWOBHM (they top a very elite list) Lightning to the Nations their debut album has to be one of the greatest metal albums ever recorded and on each listen usually leaves me mesmerized. Borrowed Time is also a great album and what truly made that band great was their mastery of melody, a lot of the bands of the NWOHM Praying Mantis and Angel Witch had great melody as well (which by chance I saw were at the start of your NWOBHM on page 71, I'll comment on that section a bit later on, as there is so much good stuff on page 7) Diamond Head were able to put out both hard-edged metal, slick metal built on great melodies with AOR tendencies and proggy metal and do every style superbly. Their lack of success is probably one of the biggest travesties in the history of rock, the only reason that their name still surfaces is because of the Metallica link. Had there been no Diamond Head, there probably would have never been a Metallica.

Cars: The Cars are probably one of my all-time favourite bands and I've actually met Ric Ocasek!!! Now I was really surprised to see your review of them features this album, whilst I don't see it as anything special its still a very good and interesting album. I was actually discussing this album with somebody not so long ago and my general opinion is that it does have some great songs on it and its the band's most diverse piece of work, but where it fails though, is that a lot of the songs don't fit well together and there are one or two oddities on there which should have stayed off, the album also comes as the follow-up to the all conquering Heartbeat City album, I'd say the Ric Ocasek solo album This Side of Paradise is the follow up to Heartbeat City, whereas this was a random sounding bookend to their cycle. Despite all that, the two Benjamin Orr sung songs "Double Trouble" and "Everything You Say" are two of the great songs on the album and show the extremities of the album ranging from hard rock to jangly pop.

Heart: Again I'm surprised that you've chosen Brigade, but I see you like to do thye unexpected! I was always a fan of the early harder rocking Heart stuff and when the band re-invented themselves in the 1980s they delivered Bad Animals one of the slickest and most polished AOR albums of its time which showcased the talents of the Wilson sisters, Brigade though I always saw as a complete flop and a poor album, your review may well prompt me to dig it out and give it another listen.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:10 PM   #1015 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier View Post
Page 7

One of the most interesting and best pages that I've seen so far! That title track "Crime of the Century" from the Supertramp album of the same name, is one of the most absorbing listens that I know of, its dark and powerful and always hits me hard. In general I was always more of a fan of the Roger Hodgson compositions, but every now and again the Rick Davies compositions could be very powerful and brilliant.
Yes, generally Hodgson did the happier, "up" tracks like "Breakfast in America", "Take the long way home" and "The logical song", with Davies usually more in the serious/sombre side of things. I still think the piano intro to "Bloody well right" and indeed the piano outro to "Child of vision" are two amazing pieces of work, probably two of my favourite piano solos after The The's "Uncertain smile".

Trouble with reviewing Supertramp though is that every single YouTube of them is blocked, so unless you do your own (as I do) or go for a Roger Hodgson solo rendition, it's really hard to get examples of their work. I had in fact intended my first "Beginner's Guide to" to feature them, but the links just weren't there.
Quote:
Saw Adagio on the list, never heard of them before but from what I've read, it would seem that I would like them especially if the singer sounds like Dio.
Adagio are amazing; again some incredible piano work, very classical and yet really heavy too.
Quote:
Diamond Head: Just the mention of them gets my pulse racing, without doubt the finest band of the NWOBHM (they top a very elite list) Lightning to the Nations their debut album has to be one of the greatest metal albums ever recorded and on each listen usually leaves me mesmerized. Borrowed Time is also a great album and what truly made that band great was their mastery of melody, a lot of the bands of the NWOHM Praying Mantis and Angel Witch had great melody as well (which by chance I saw were at the start of your NWOBHM on page 71, I'll comment on that section a bit later on, as there is so much good stuff on page 7) Diamond Head were able to put out both hard-edged metal, slick metal built on great melodies with AOR tendencies and proggy metal and do every style superbly. Their lack of success is probably one of the biggest travesties in the history of rock, the only reason that their name still surfaces is because of the Metallica link. Had there been no Diamond Head, there probably would have never been a Metallica.
In fact, "Borrowed time" is the only DH album I've listened to, though I think I caught a few tracks off "Canterbury" when my brother owned it, way back when. Must listen to more of their stuff. I was disappointed that my downloaded copy of BT had a shorter version of "Don't you ever leave me", WITHOUT the beautiful slow blues ending. Goddamn it!
Quote:
Cars: The Cars are probably one of my all-time favourite bands and I've actually met Ric Ocasek!!! Now I was really surprised to see your review of them features this album, whilst I don't see it as anything special its still a very good and interesting album. I was actually discussing this album with somebody not so long ago and my general opinion is that it does have some great songs on it and its the band's most diverse piece of work, but where it fails though, is that a lot of the songs don't fit well together and there are one or two oddities on there which should have stayed off, the album also comes as the follow-up to the all conquering Heartbeat City album, I'd say the Ric Ocasek solo album This Side of Paradise is the follow up to Heartbeat City, whereas this was a random sounding bookend to their cycle. Despite all that, the two Benjamin Orr sung songs "Double Trouble" and "Everything You Say" are two of the great songs on the album and show the extremities of the album ranging from hard rock to jangly pop.
I agree "Heartbeat City" is a far superior album, probably the best in their catalogue, but I really like "Door to door". I just love the mix of styles on it, from frothy, laidback almost pop to rock to AOR and approaching punk at the end! But I wasn't terribly impressed by their comeback album, which I reviewed as one of my last current albums of 2011. It was okay, but for such a long time away I had expected much better; same thing with Van Halen, very meh in my opinion.

If you're an Ocasek fan though make sure to check out my profile on his solo work, beginning on page 25.
Quote:
Heart: Again I'm surprised that you've chosen Brigade, but I see you like to do thye unexpected! I was always a fan of the early harder rocking Heart stuff and when the band re-invented themselves in the 1980s they delivered Bad Animals one of the slickest and most polished AOR albums of its time which showcased the talents of the Wilson sisters, Brigade though I always saw as a complete flop and a poor album, your review may well prompt me to dig it out and give it another listen.
Yeah, I'm more into the later Heart stuff, from the self-titled (what was that all about?) through "Brigade", "Bad animals" and "Desire walks on". I review "Bad animals" much later on too.

Just a personal note: thanks for taking the time to comment so comprehensively on what I write. Few do, and even if they do it's sporadic and usually quite short. It's really nice to get a proper idea of what at least one reader thinks of what I write, and nice to talk to someone who has (generally) the same music taste as myself. I always look forward to your comments, makes my day. Thanks again and keep reading (and commenting)!
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:11 PM   #1016 (permalink)
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:15 PM   #1017 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, a great one this! From Irish band Bagatelle, this is “Summer in Dublin”.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:30 PM   #1018 (permalink)
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Trading secrets with the moon --- The Adventures --- 1990 (Elektra)


A long time ago, I reviewed the second album by Belfast's Adventures, the first time I came into contact with them, the superb “Sea of love”, but this album is in fact better, despite the generally negative critical attention it got. There's not one bad track, and though no singles were released from it, it's surprising because there are so many here that would have fit the bill. I'd go so far as to say it was the best Adventures album, though I have yet to hear the debut and their last one, but somehow I doubt they could trump or even equal this masterpiece.

Seeming a bit more Americanised in ways, certainly in lyrical themes, with tracks like “Washington deceased”, “Bright new morning” and “Desert rose” all having links to the US of A, perhaps this is why it was so univerally disliked, but I see no fall in quality from “Sea of love”, and you certainly could not say that the guys started writing in a style designed to please the USA; it just seems to be something of a coincidence. In fact, far from losing or changing the celtic influences that characterised the second album (and possibly the first), they're even stronger here, with instruments like bodhran, oileann pipes and whistles and accordion used.

Opening on a “wind-up” organ melody, the drums cut in and the guitar gets going as “Your greatest shade of blue” rocks along, Terry Sharpe in fine vocal form, perhaps not as upfront as on “The sea of love”, a little more laidback maybe, but still clear and strong, the song bopping along in a very uptempo vein, great bit of accordion from Jonathan Whitehead. Pat Gribben as ever is master of his guitar, with excellent piano work from again Jonathan Whitehead. I don't hear Eileen Gribben's backing vocals as strongly here though, but that's put right with “Scarlet”, a lonely, keening ballad carried on harmonica and accordion, with some really effective oileann pipes courtesy of Liam O'Flynn. Great strings arrangement, for which we have to thank Mr. Whitehead again, although Helen O'Hara provides some fine violin, it must be said, and with the title in the lyric, this serves as the title track, unlike the previous album which had one. Eileen's backing vocals are almost more shared ones with Terry here, and she certainly makes herself heard, as she should, this being a song about a woman down on her luck.

Things kick right back up then for “Washington deceased”, with a definite sense of American band the Hooters about it, and a small dash of the Sawdoctors too. It's very bouncy and happy, Helen's violin dancing along with the rest, but with a downbeat lyrical theme, as Terry sings ”Life's not for living here/ To feast your eyes, take a walk /To the centre of the city/ Say a prayer for Washington deceased.” Driven on jangly guitar and Whitehead's punchy accordion, it's a great double-whammy: catchy song with serious lyrics that Mellencamp or Springsteen would be proud of.

One of the many standouts then in “Don't blame it on the moon”, a mid-paced ballad carried on harmonica and organ, its lyric and title kind of echoing the album's theme. Really nice crying violin merges with the harmonica and gives the song a very rustic, country/folk feel, while “Bright new morning” ramps the tempo up slightly, with a song about emigrating to the USA, something of a tour-de-force with bodhran, bouzuoki, whistle and oileann pipes all helping to draw the soundscape against Terry's passionate promise to his child that they are ”Looking for a bright new morning/ Searching for a clear blue sky/ Sure we'll find a bright new morning/ So hush my angel/ Don't you cry.” The sense of fear and trepidation mixed with anticipation and hope at leaving your homeland behind to seek a new life is particularly topical, even now, with so many people leaving Ireland to escape the lack of prospects here at the moment. Or to put it in the words of one of our trad groups, the Wolfe Tones, ”Farewell ye boys and girls/ Another bloody “flight of earls”/ Our best asset is our best export too.”

Another of Ireland's favourite sons joins Terry for “Love's lost town”, as Brian Kennedy provides backing vocals to one of the straightest rock tracks on the album, although not in honesty one of my favourites. The addition of brass does give it a certain charm though. Much better is to come, with my all-time favourite track off this album, “Desert rose”, another slow ballad with blues overtones, with a heavy, doomy aspect which provides the image of someone crying into their beer. Beautiful, sensitive guitar work from Pat Gribben, soulful backing vocals from Eileen, and perfectly measured piano and indeed organ from Jonathan. The centrepiece of the song however is moaning pedal steel from B.J. Cole. This song is, incidentally, the only one on which Pat Gribben, who writes every other song on the album, collaborates with anyone, and it's a real star he chooses to work with (or who chooses to work with him), the venerable Lloyd Cole.

After this masterpiece, “Hey Magdalene” comes over as something of a filler, and while it's not a bad track --- rocky and quite anthemic in its way --- it's more what it has to follow that brings it up short, rather than any defect in the song itself. Brian Kennedy is back providing backing vocals to this, and it's perhaps interesting, but probably coincidental, that both the tracks I consider weaker ones on the album have him guesting. “Sweet burning love” goes into a gospel vein, and works extremely well, with solid, almost church organ from Whitehead carrying the tune along on an almost spiritual wave, then “Never gonna change” rocks things back up again one last time, with of all things harpsichord from Jonathan Whitehead, before the album closes triumphantly on the fragile, yet powerful “Put me together again”, with more fine backing vocals and brass, sonorous organ and a wonderful, mournful sax outro from Gary Barnacle to put the seal on a truly special album.

As I said at the beginning, I don't get the (critics') hate for this album. It has everything, and delivers on every level. Especially following such a powerhouse as “The sea of love”, which was always going to be hard to top, it's amazing that the Adventures came up with a record of this quality. And yet they got panned for it. I guess there's just no pleasing some people!

TRACKLISTING

1. Your greatest shade of blue
2. Scarlet
3. Washington deceased
4. Don't blame it on the moon
5. Bright new morning
6. Love's lost town
7. Desert rose
8. Hey Magdalene
9. Sweet burning love
10. Never gonna change
11. Put me together again
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:22 AM   #1019 (permalink)
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Ireland has a rich history of traditional music, much of which is hundreds of years old, and some of which go back perhaps thousands of years, to a time before Christianity came to this island. Most of the songs have been passed down through generations, many in oral form, sung acapella around a fireplace by the seanachai (shan-ah-kee), the revered storyteller, perhaps at the time the only man in a village or town who could read, and then woven into musical compositions to be learned and handed down from father to son.

Many sing of legends from Irish folklore, many of battles and bravery, and many of the strife Ireland has been through in her long and troubled history --- we have certainly been invaded more than once. These songs speak of times past, people long dead, ways that have been overtaken by modern life, but they also tell the stories of conflicts of this time, like the Great War and the Easter Rising, among others. They are played by our better known traditional groups, like the Wolfe Tones, the Dubliners and the Chieftains, Planxty and others, as well as singer/songwriters like Christy Moore and Mary Black. Although they often reference and remind us of bad times, there are the joyful jigs and reels, and other songs which celebrate life and love, and remind us why these songs are still sung today.

Here are a few of the ones I know and recognise, the ones that come up most when you're at an Irish bar, or indeed a football match...

One of the most famous is “The green fields of France”, which although only written in 1976 has quickly become one of the most recognisable and well-loved Irish trad tunes (given that it was written by a Scot, perhaps it shouldn't be claimed as such, but we do) and has been performed by, among many others, the Chieftains, the Dubliners, the Furies, Makem and Clancy and Stockton's Wing.


Referencing the “Troubles”, as we called the thirty-year occupation of Northern Ireland by the English Army, and the rampant sectarian violence that sprung from that conflict, “The town I loved so well” is another recent song, written by one of our greatest pianists and composers, Phil Coulter, and covered by among others, the Dubliners and Johnny MacEvoy. It's a searing indictment of the “war” in Northern Ireland, and the legacy left behind, the human cost as the lyric laments ”With their tanks and their guns/ Oh my God, what have they done/ To the town I loved so well?”


A song written, ostensibly in the 1970s but with parallels in a written manuscript from 1880, “The fields of Athenry” concerns a convict sentenced to deportation to Australia, and the memories of a town he will never see again. It comes up a lot in Irish football chants, and our most famous and popular version is sung here by Paddy Reilly.


Another song written to condemn the idea of war is “And the band played Waltzing Matilda”, which was in fact written by the man who penned “The green fields of France”, Eric Bogle, and concerns largely the battle of Gallipoli in World War One. This is Makem and Clancy relating the tale in music.


Irish songs were often written from an emigrant's point of view, as the unfortunate who had to leave his home reflected on what they had left behind. “Carrickfergus” is such a song, its origins said to go back to the late eighteenth century, and a very popular song wherever the Irish in America gather.


As I mentioned, Ireland has had its fair share of conflict and invasion, mostly by “the damn English” (!) and many of the traditional songs reflect that, rebel songs which reference things like the Easter Rising of 1916 or various battles (won or lost) fought against the English. Songs like “Boolavogue”


“Off to Dublin in the green”


“Rising of the moon”


and the popular “A nation once again”.


But not all Irish trad songs are sad or morose. Indeed, many celebrate the simpler things in life, like partying and getting drunk and just generally enjoying yourself (sound familiar?), as in “Lanigan's ball”


“The Rose of Tralee”


and of course “If you're Irish”.


And who doesn't know “An Irish lullaby”?


There are the great love songs, like “I'll take you home again Kathleen”


the haunting “Danny boy”


“Will ye go, lassie, go”


and the utterly bewitching “She moved through the fair”.


Of course, there are the more serious, sombre ones too, like “The mountains of Mourne”


“Spancil Hill”


and of course “Cockels and mussels” (usually mistitled as “Molly Malone”, for obvious reasons).


Though it's relatively recent (1967) I like “Four green fields”


And for those of you who doubted it existed, here to close this section is the traditional, original version of the song made world-famous by Thin Lizzy, “Whisky in the jar”.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:18 AM   #1020 (permalink)
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A brief crack of light --- Therapy? --- 2012 (Blast Records)


One of the unsung survivors of the Irish rock scene, Therapy? have forged ahead in the face of decreasing media interest but decent record sales, to produce thirteen albums, of which this is their latest. They're a band I haven't heard before, so this is the first time I'll be listening to, never mind, reviewing, one of their albums. Let's see whether it's a good or bad experience.

Hailing from County Antrim, the band has been going since 1989, and although they started life as a trio, one of the founder members, drummer Fyfe Ewing, left in 1996 and was replaced by Graham Hopkins, with cellist Martin McCarrick added to round the band out to a quartet. They play mostly post-rock and metal, and have gained a pretty huge following over the twenty-three years now that they've been in existence.

The album opens with a heavy blast of guitar and drums as “Living in the shadow of a terrible thing” rocks its way out, a track that was also the first single released from the album. There is Metallica style bass and almost punk vocals courtesy of Andy Cairns, who also plays the guitar with some pretty mighty feedback, and the guitar work gets harder and faster for “Plague bell”. More punk-style almost shouted vocals, with a lot of anger (real or simulated I don't know) kind of reminscent at times of the Clash. So far, it's not really my kind of metal though, and whereas the lyric here declares ”I hate every second” I wouldn't go that far, but up to this point there's not a lot I like about this album, or this band.

I really can't see anywhere that a cello is going to fit into this music though, and a cursory glance over Therapy?'s catalogue shows me that the last time Martin McCarrick contributed to an album was 2003's “High anxiety”, so maybe he's no longer with them? Surprisingly, “Marlow” is a lot better, great instrumental, very melodic and with a sort of mixture of Big Country and U2 about the guitar work, then “Before you, with you, after you” comes on strong, with more hard, angry vocals and sharp guitar with pounding drumwork, decent hook in the chorus though. Even uses some vocoder. Yeah.

“The buzzing”, however, is just annoying. Basically just noise with the vocals shouted rather than sung. It does settle down a little with about a minute to go, eventually, but I just don't think that much of it at all. Not crazy about “Get your dead hand off my shoulder” either. Think this is going to be another in the “dislike” pile, of which my review of 2012 albums is so far weighted in their favour. Hard to find a decent new album this year, it would seem. “Ghost trio” has a nice jangly guitar intro at least, one of the two longest tracks on the album at over five minutes, and it's not too bad. The guitar takes on a hypnotic, almost sitar-like quality as the song goes along, and is probably the best (only good) part of the song. I have to say, I don't think much of Andy Cairns' vocals though, even if his guitar work is pretty damn good.

The album is kind of going past in a haze of noise and shouting now. “Why turbulence” has a decent chugging guitar riff but not a lot else, while “Stark raving sane” is at least decent hard rock/metal, then the last, and longest, track surprises totally by slowing everything down and using those vocoders again, and to be fair Cairns' vocal on “Ecclesiastes” is much better: why doesn't he sing like this all the time? The guitar is ominous and dramatic, the drumming slow and measured, and if there was anywhere that McCarrick's cello would have fitted on this album it would have been here, but I don't hear it. There's a certain feeling of Tiamat about this, and it's a decent closer, a very good closer in fact, but it's not enough to save the album.

I thought I would like this, but it's too raw and too undisciplined for my liking. I do like metal --- love it, in fact --- but I like it, like all the music I enjoy, to have structure and meaning, and Therapy? fail to manage this, in my opinion on this album. If there's a brief crack of light here, it's with the final track, but the door snaps shut and I'm left in pretty much total darkness. And I don't like the dark...

TRACKLISTING

1. Living in the shadow of a terrible thing
2. Plague bell
3. Marlow
4. Before you, with you, after you
5. The buzzing
6. Get your dead hand off my shoulder
7. Ghost trio
8. Why turbulence
9. Stark raving sane
10. Ecclesiastes
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