Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Pale - Proper Order [Album Review]

The Pale probably should have become a massive band in the early 90's due to their original and distinct qualities. I loved their early tunes but for whatever reason [financial probably!] I simply never got round to buying an album and only caught the band live for the first time in The Academy before Christmas.

The Pale released their 8th [or 9th depending on source!] studio album entitled Proper Order earlier this month. I have to admit that I am really enjoying Proper Order. It sounds exactly what a 'The Pale' album should sound like. We have strong vocals, quality thoughtful lyrics, mandolin infused melodies and simply a great set of tunes.

I love the first three tracks which deal with the realities of being in a band. There's the plight of being a support act, getting noticed by the local area and having to deal with advances and temptations. Proper Order then kicks into the 2008 single Chocolate Factory which is the best pop tune on the album. The rest of the album includes many references to modern Ireland with the lyrics becoming very subjective. 'Beauty in the Riot' for example creates for me many images of love, clarity, chaos and acceptance.

Proper Order is a consistently strong album if a little on the short side at just under 30 minutes! But hey I'm always told it's quality not length that's important! If like me you haven't got round to acquiring an album from 'The Pale', let me recommend you start with Proper Order.

The Pale - We Were First On

The Pale - Proper Order [9 out of 12]

Buy The Album - Digital
Buy The Album - CD

Jun 12: Roisin Dubh - Galway
Jun 20: Midsummer Shindig - Corofin, Co. Galway
Jun 26: Clarence Hotel - Sligo
Jun 27: Tramore - Tramore, Waterford
Jul 24: Folk Holidays Festival - Naměšť
Aug 8: The Stables - Mullingar, Westmeath

Monday, 18 May 2009

Monday Under The Covers: Make a Deal With God?

I am going to remind you about one of the best covers I have heard this year by Ham Sandwich. 'Running Up That Hill' was recorded at the Inspirations gig in the Academy in late February.

See Ham Sandwich live:

4 Jun 2009 20:00 SLANE acoustic sessions Boyles Pub Slane, Meath
6 Jun 2009 20:00 The Purty Kitchen>> Dun Laoghaire Dublin
11 Jun 2009 13:00 Tower Records Dublin, Dublin
11 Jun 2009 20:00 LEITRIM>>Moon River, Carrick On Shannon>> Carrick On Shannon, Leitrim
13 Jun 2009 20:00 Whelans>> Dublin, Dublin

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Album Review - Alphastates 'Human Nature'

I think I'm beginning to get a good understanding of the different factors that shape journalistic opinions. I went to the album launch of 'Human Nature' and Alphastates were simply amazing live. Therefore this album will forever stimulate good feelings and memories of that gig which makes the album sound perfect!

'Human Nature' is the second album from Alphastates which contains ten tracks designed to transport you to a different plane! Alphastates merge the best of electronica, indie and dance with Catherine Dowling's delicate vocals to produce a sound which offers the listener something different and fresh. The lyrics can be pretty powerful as well on tracks such as the love story of 'Anywhere' and the beautiful closing tune 'Comfort in Silence'.

This album works so well as a complete work. Individually there may be a case that not one track stands out on it's own as a 'hit'. I think the band were a long time settling on a track list and running order for the album which has paid off here. 'Human Nature' is as compact an album as you are likely to hear. However it does sound better after you witness the band live!

Alphastates - Human Nature (10 out of 12)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

I Am Not Lefthanded - Whelans Review

I Am Not Lefthanded played to a decent sized crowd on Tuesday 5th May upstairs in Whelans. The gig was free in with a 'Pay What You Like' system in place where you paid the amount you thought was fair.

The support for the gig was Murder Plan. They were amazing. Fronted by Stephanie with a powerful voice and a great image, the band create a fusion of sound which is fresh and exciting. Murder Plan bring together Jacques Brel style jazz, with raggae rhythm, indie rock and a singer who brings to mind Imelda May! Have a listen and tell me or them what you think!

Soul Dance
Nina's Waltz

I Am Not Lefthanded are a three piece based in London who are busy writing and recording their debut album. The set tonight shows a marked improvement on their previous show with the band's sound being alot tighter and sounding alot better. Here are the hightlights:

The current single Everybody Sleeps

Long Goodbyes [Quite possibly my favourite song of the year!]

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Album Review - Wayne Brennan 'In My Hands'

Wayne Brennan is an amazing musician and he can make the most beautiful sounds from his Spanish acoustic guitar. Wayne also has some quality tunes that come alive when you see this guy live. Strong songs include Make Me Smile, In My Hands and Moving Me which is the sample song. However 'In My Hands' is not the best representation of Wayne Brennan's talents.

The running order of the tunes make little sense because to my ears the best songs are towards the last third of the album. The awesome instrumental 'Peace in Your Mind' is nestled mid-set which gives an old LP two sides feel to the album. While there are strong songs on the album they are usually followed by a weak tune which disrupts the general overall feel to the album.

This is not to say that the album is bad. It's just I think Wayne has an amazing guitar playing talent which deserves a better album! Maybe I expected more because his live shows are so good!

In My Hands - 7 out of 12

I recommend you get to see Wayne Brennan & band live on his tour!

Tour Dates

14 May 2009 20:00 One Take Sessions Kilkenny
15 May 2009 21:00 The Stables Mullingar, Westmeath
17 May 2009 20:00 The Cheeky Social Sunday Club Cork, Cork
25 May 2009 21:00 Auntie Annies Belfast, Northern Ireland
29 May 2009 21:00 The Backroom Navan, Meath
30 May 2009 21:00 Birr Arts Theatre - Support to Mick Flannery Birr, Offaly
31 May 2009 21:00 Doyles Dublin, Dublin
1 Jun 2009 21:00 Whelans Dublin, Dublin
3 Jun 2009 20:00 The New Music Club Thurles, Tipperary
26 Jun 2009 20:30 The Cobblestone Dublin, Dublin

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Album Review: Sixteen Layers - I Am No One

'I Am No One' is a good rock album that deserves the biggest audience possible. Dublin band Sixteen Layers make music that will mean something to people. The lyrics in the main are accomplished and thoughtful. It's not easy to make a record with crashing guitars and booming drumbeats that makes the ear tune in on the vocals and lyrics. The band are good musicians and the vocal harmonies work very well. Standout tracks include 'Into The Sun' , 'Former You' and the title track. 'I Am No One' certainly nods to grunge influences of Pearl Jam and Nirvana while fans of Muse will be up for this album. A very strong debut by a band who I hope will broaden their horizons in the future to get this album to the masses!

Sixteen Layers - I Am No One (7 out of 12)
Tour Details

3 May 2009 22:00 Harbour Bar Bray, Co Wicklow
23 May 2009 15:00 Music Maker Dublin, Dublin
12 Jun 2009 20:00 The Sugar Club Dublin 2, Dublin
25 Jun 2009 20:00 Dolans Warehouse Limerick, Limerick