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Lost in the Former West

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Aug. 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B0000263X7
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,298 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 15 Sept. 2003
Lost in the Former West (1994) remains the highpoint of Fatima Mansions career, despite coming after genius albums (Viva Dead Ponies, Valhalla Avenue) and singles alike (Blues for Ceausescu, Bertie's Brochures). Amusingly, Cathal Coughlan took up meditation and gave up drinking prior to making this record- one would perhaps expect some loved up hippy tosh...CC instead gives us a focused take on the bowels of a morally empty, post-Cold War Europe. This is the dark stuff, made darker with the Swiftian black comedy- the album that Manics'Holy Bible so wanted to be...
Cathal gives us it straight away with Belong Nowhere, "No deathcamps here I tell you/Just grey 'convienience' hell/'neath billboard signs which yell: "You need someone pretty, someone English and shifty". The backdrop of the post-Iron curtain and the former Yugoslavia infect this album, as does an earlier strain of bile directed at what would become identified as globalisation- tracks like Your World Customer and lyrics like "Save all your revolution for a Saturday night" show how shallow Radiohead's anti-globalist material was on Amnesiac.
LITFW is almost worth buying for the hilarious cover (a restaged Liberace photo)- CC as Liberace with 'chauffeur' travelling through the depraved former West. If Lou Reed's New York and Neil Young's Rockin'in the Free World started doubt about the late 80s bonhomie and Leonard Cohen's The Future (1993)took us into bleaker, darker, laughter in the dark territory- LITFW takes us almost to the end of this experience (music would become rather apolitical shortly after this album, witness the horrors of Britpop).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MR P FITTON on 4 May 2009
In a decently organised society the Fatima Mansions would have been huge, and their leader, singer and songwriter Cathal Coughlan, would be worshipped as a genius. Rock's final genius in fact. Alas it was not to be.

The band's final album, Lost in the Former West, was described by Coughlan, prior to release, as a straight-ahead "flippant" rock album. True, up to a point, and as such it lacks the some of the subtlety of previous albums (at least musically) but it is still a magnificent, snarling, furious, gloriously malevolent record in the best Fatima tradition. And it's frequently also very funny.

Other bands (RATM, Anti-Flag et al) may play at being angry, make the appropriate gestures, postures and slogans, but don't have the intellectual or musical clout to back it up. Fatima Mansions were the real deal. There was no vacuous sloganeering; enormously inventive musically and with Coughlan's hyper-intelligent lyrics, their brief recorded history represents probably the most uncompromisingly vitriolic music ever put on disc.

Jason Parkes has already done a great job of outlining the record's main themes so I won't add much on that score. Suffice to say that, as always, the Mansions were not messing about. The record starts with the massive guitar attack and coruscating rage of Belong Nowhere - Coughlan's nihilistic, anti-patriotic vitriol ridiculing and ruthlessly dismantling the very ideas of 'belonging', homeland and national identity.

Massive savage guitar (courtesy of the excellent Aindrias O'Gruama) dominates most of LitFW's tracks, but it's not all brutality.
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