Sunday, 28 November 2010

Album Review: Bill Coleman - You Can't Buy Back Your Life

Bill Coleman has made a great second album in which every song hits home with melodies and messages. The 'story' of the album should be an inspiration to every aspiring new artist.

Way back in the 'Heyday' of Irish singer-songwriters of '02 - '03, Bill Coleman releases a debut EP which includes one of my favourite songs ever in 'Don't Suffer in Silence' followed in 2007 with a fine debut album. Bill was gathering a fan base and a name for himself with some prime time TV appearances. Then the story unfolds as Bill tells it himself at gigs that he is to become a full time musician because of redundancy. The redundancy money went into 'You Can't Buy Back Your Life'.

Bill's model of selling music has been to make the album available for free through his website for download in exchange for an email address here. However if you get a chance to see Bill perform live, like what I did a few weeks back, you can pick out your own unique copy with it's own artwork and number. It's all explained below in a video.

I've read reviews of this album in which the first few tracks of the album are held in high regard but the second half is considered weak. I disagree with this completely. I've been familiar with the early tracks on the album for some considerable time and it seems ridiculous for me to review them here. The track 'Crossfire' makes a great ringtone!

The album kicks off with 'I Want You To Know' and 'Welcome to the Breakdown' where Bill sings with such great conviction and passion. 'She Knows/I Know' is an intriguing love story. 'Crossfire' has a great sing a long chorus and foot tapping rifts. All of the early tracks consist of a full band sound with many hooks and loops to fill in the sound. This works and the tracks benefit to a point. However for me there's no comparison to the strength and depth of some of the tracks towards the end of the album.

While reviewing the album I found myself beginning the album on track six which is the sublime 'Your Hands Were Made For Working'. The delicate vocals and beautiful lyrics of the track is of such high standard. Nobody in Ireland has written better songs than 'Your Hands ...' or the compassionate 'False North' or inspirational 'Church of Second Chances'.

This leads me to the most important aspect of Bill Coleman. He writes great songs. Songs of meaning which have a point. These lyrics get delivered with vocals which can be delicate on some tracks and full of passion on others. The best example of this is 'False North' where he conjures up a variety of emotions;

"Hold on to nothing,
So nothing can harm you,
So nothing can hurt you.
So nothing can break you,

So desperate to say yes, So desperate to impress,
So desperate to be loved, But too scared to say so.

| will change your mind, I will kiss your tears,
I will break your heart, Then I'll disappear."

Bill Coleman - You Can't Buy Back Your Love [11 out of 12]

False North by bcoleman

Your Hands Were Made For Working by bcoleman

The Church of Second Chances by bcoleman

Here's the wonderful video for 'Welcome To The Breakdown'

Here's Bill explaining the CD Art design:

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Live @ Boyles - Nov 25th

I'm really excited about this gig on Thursday. We have one of Ireland's finest bands headlining with support from Matthew Devereax from The Pale and Vitruvius. Bring on Thursday!

Links: Vitruvius:

The Pale:

The Dirty 9s:

Check out some tunes you're likely to hear on Thursday:

The Dirty 9s- Something Better by 2uibestow

The Pale - We Were First On by 2uibestow

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Album Review: Preachers Son - Love, Life & Limb

Highly personal debut album from a band consisting of Kila's bassist and Engine Alley's drummer. Preachers Son's debut is a varied collection of mini rock anthems which makes for an absorbing listen.

Preachers Son are Dubliners Brian Hogan (Kíla) and Emmaline Duffy-Fallon (previously of Engine Alley). The debut album 'Love Life & Limb' was released on Oct 15th on Reekus Records. Guest artists on the album include: Gavin Friday, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Kieran Kennedy, Jose Carlos Anselmo Flores and Rori Coleman.

'Love, Life & Limb' has taken up much of my time and my thoughts in the last few weeks. I was instantly engaged with the album from the beginning with the track '26 Years'. It's an anthem of sound with a killer chorus, great lyrics and a real heavy edge. The best songs on the album have all of these attributes such as 'X For Sandra''Lost My Faith' and an album highlight 'This Time of Life'. In particular I love the attitude filled version of 'Son of a Preacher Man'.

I mentioned above that the album is varied and it certainly is. I am a fan of albums having 'Peaks & Troughs' but I found the 'Troughs' to be in general a real let down. The songs like 'Rain' and 'Heaven For The Moment' veer into some weird Nick Cave-like world which is void of charm and direction.

There is an exception to this particular criticism which is the Gavin Friday assisted 'Lipstick' and is another clear highlight in the album. 'Lipstick' is a wonderfully charming song with beautifully arranged strings and delicate vocals. For me it one of the best songs released by an Irish band this year.

Lipstick (duet with Gavin Friday) by Preachers Son

Preachers Son - Love, Life & Limb [10 out of 12]

Buy The Album:
More info:

Here's some footage from the Preachers Son album launch which includes performances from The Aftermath and My Evil Ex.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

EP Review: Pearse McGloughlin - Twine

Pearse McGloughlin will be releasing the follow up to his well acclaimed 2009 album 'Busy Whisper' in January 2011. It's a delightful EP and a real breath of fresh air.

It's been over a year now since I first heard and fell in love with Pearse's melodic indie sounds of 'Busy Whisper'. Even now I regularly go back to that album to listen to songs like 'Monkey's Paw' 'Partings' and the masterpiece 'Passion Song'. Pearse has released the follow up through Bandcamp for a 'Name Your Price' transaction. It's available from now even though it will take some time for the EP to hit radio stations and media outlets.

'Twine' is a short EP of three songs consisting of the title track, 'Morning Mist (The Birds)' and 'Mercedes and the Kingfisher'. The song 'Twine' continues the haunting melodic sounds through the strings and them wondrous backing vocals. 'Morning Mist' is probably Pearse's most uptempo track with that infectious refraining line 'For The Birds'. The EP finishes with the stripped back sound of Pearse with guitar and them delicate vocals.

Pearse McGloughlin - Twine [11 out of 12]

Album Review: Tiger Cooke - Fingertips of the Silversmith

Fingertips of the Silversmith is a polished, professional and personal album of real quality. However for some reason it fails to ignite passion in me and at times falls flat.

Tiger Cooke is a really good songwriter with a pleasant pure voice that I could listen to for days. The best songs on the album are the single 'Out of Reach' which wouldn't be out of place on Ray Lamontagne's Trouble and the uptempo opener 'Rid of Her'. I also really like the Americana sounding album closer 'Your True North'. In terms of song composition and musicianship 'Fingertips ...' is a highly recommendable album with very polished pop/rock songs.

I suppose the negative for me is that many of the songs come and go without leaving an impression on me either lyrically or musically. Some of tracks are a bit over-indulgent and difficult to connect with. Another small point is that the album very much reminds me of David Geraghty's second album released last year. David Geraghty produced 'Fingertips ...' and it's difficult to distinguish where one ends and the other begins.

Tiger Cooke - Fingertips of the Silversmith: [8 out of 12]

Your True North - Tiger Cooke - Fingertips of the Silversmith by tigercooke

Andrea's Fault - Tiger Cooke - Fingertips of the Silversmith by tigercooke

See Tiger Live:

The full list of tour dates are as follows ...

02 Nov - The Ruby Sessions, Doyle's, Dublin 2
09 Nov - The Spirit Store, Dundalk - Tuesday 9th - (Downstairs)
17 Nov - The Workman's Club, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2 - w/ The Gorgeous Colours
19 Nov - The Hub, Ennis, Co Clare - w/ Pearse McGloughlin
24 Nov - The Sitting Room Sessions, DeBarra's, Clonakilty, Co Cork
14 Dec - The Cellar Sessions, Matt the Millers, Kilkenny
You can get all the latest details from :