on 12 January 2010
I discovered The Irrepressibles on a dull summer's day a few years ago when they were doing a performance at the Pump House in Battersea Park, London. I heard Jamie McDermott's voice from afar and was drawn across the park to see who it was. The group were all dressed in black and silver costumes with amazing make up and hair. Not only were they singing and playing amazingly, they were PERFORMING and creating a mesmerizing piece of art that the audience was completely drawn into.
The last time I experienced anything approaching this was when Kate Bush released Wuthering Heights in the 70's . . . I just hadn't heard anything like it before. On hearing The Irrepressibles I knew I had stumbled upon something very, very special.
I have since been to many of their performances, seeing them in intimate and in vast surroundings . . . and they delight every time.
They seamlessly fuse orchestration with pop melodies and soaring cathartic vocals. The album Mirror Mirror is a wonderfully emotive and enchanting collection of their work revealing surprises at every turn.
I can understand the comparisons with early David Bowie and Kate Bush or Antony and the Johnsons but they really don't do them any justice . . . The Irrepressibles are unique, exciting and so much more.
I strongly recommend you have a listen. Gems like this don't come along often.
on 19 December 2011
Any track that has been used for a TV advert is immediately tarnished, and any artist who agrees to their music being sold to advertisers rightly has their artistic integrity brought into question, and In This Shirt probably will become a bit of an albatross to The Irrepressibles. Having said that, this album is worth buying on the basis of its final track alone. The trembling falsetto and introspective lyrics will naturally draw comparisons with Antony and the Johnsons, but this is a track which is of another place. It reminds me of 'Eat Yourself' by Goldfrapp in its ability to make you feel like you have been seriously affected by listening to it. The lyrics are incredibly sad yet full of hope, and the ethereal strings and synthesisers are just beautiful. The rest of the album is certainly worth listening to, and will grow on you, but it is In This Shirt which will make you know you haven't wasted your money.
on 1 April 2015
Let yourself be charmed by this lascivious voice, veiled, blurred, vacillating, looming high or distant and deep. The voice is the key to the feelings, the emotions and the passions, the voice in its constant high jumps and other wide stretches is there to express the fullness of the feelings and the sincerity of the sentiments. It is also the mirror in which you'll see the treachery of the other, the treacherous truth behind the lies of the lover. Welcome to the truth philter of this bewitched vocal performance.
This young man displays the art of repeating some words, some phrases ad nauseam or ad aeternum vale, farewell in the vast variations of this vale of sighs, whispers, lamentations, echoes and reverberations. We are mesmerized and we can hear what we want, we can hear the echoes of our desires and we totter between Jo, or is it Joe, and we do catch "her heart on the sleeve" and yet we are surprised by that unique and sole mention of any femininity in that world that sounds so "gay" as he says as opposed to "sad", true enough, and yet that sad gayness has little to do with any gaiety of some famous theater in Dublin.
In fact most of the time we are far beyond, the singer is in love with the image he sees in the mirror, an image that is not himself but the truth that shines beyond the lies. Love is the only thing he wants but it is too often just holding, hugging, when it is not crushing him on the anvil he is for the angel he is enamored with. Haven't you been told that the angelic seraph is nothing but the sweet side of the punished and deadly saraph, that bronze serpent that can kill just on sight?
So what's left after having been hammered into the metallic anvil by this smashing golden goose of a guardian lover? Nothing but rain, and rain again shining in the mirror of truth that tells lies are lies. Mirror, mirror on the wall. . .
All the James of the world will shudder and tremble when the singer calls his Jamie to come and be his dream reigning high on the throne of bliss. We feel what is important is not so much the other than the storm that is exploding inside his skull, the tempest that burst high and low, blow up and down in his body, recessing, accessing, invading. And Jamie, the other, is nothing. The call is his name, the image of the other he sees in the mirror when looking at himself. And this dreamlike love in a mirror is imagined coming to an end and he gets really exquisite bliss in imagining his Jamie gone.
That's when you start reflecting on the music, this introspective music that climbs up and down the range of his voice from chest to brain and back down to his toes, and the rainbow of his feelings after the rain that followed the loved desires that were exquisitely enticingly so intense, the rainbow is like a flag in the landscape that calls for some pride march of the relinquished lovers longing for the return of the departed, the for good gone lovers.
He is able to put upside down all symbols and when the phallic knife penetrates his chest looking for the heart he feels he has a wife in him. He has lost all sense of sexual orientation and he only knows love in all its fiery exhilaration. And the end, the final end, is "that we love who we love" and no one has the right to declare war against the lovers they may disagree with.
"my message is clear
I've come here to smear and smudge the rules
And prove you fools."
And there is a cruel sadness in his desire to let go of his lover, that boy that is with him. His desire to let go of him, to get rid of him, to erase the face of that boy forever imprinted in his burning mind. But he can't. A tide may come to wash him away, a wind may blow to fly him away but the boy who may be taken away by the tidal world of censors and the windy public opinion of bigots but the boy's face will never leave his mind.
There is in that instant a sadness that fascinates the heart, that hypnotizes the mind, that mesmerizes the senses, that captivates the brain, that smites each feeling, that besots every emotion, that infatuates all sentiments, that bewitches and terminates every single desire of ours. Oh! When will we get that boy in our embrace, our hugging arms, our clutching heart forever?
And he accepts the simple fact that he will have to let the boy go without letting go of him, hence keeping him in the soul of his mind, as the soul of his mind. And for two minutes we are lost in the ocean of that music, in the sea of that love that reverberates blindly against the walls of the law, society, the tasteless, colorless normalcy of here and now against what's deep under and dark behind.
And though the rainbow is gone the man is lost in that rainbow of his and his boy lover who may be Jake. The rainbow has entirely invaded him and the shirt the boy has left behind is that rainbow of burning desire surviving their bereft satisfaction. And the lover is revealed, Jake is in his touch now he is out of touch. The boy he is in love with, the boy that has gone away, that is gone, and yet he hears him calling his name in the rainbow that has vanished and is yet living in his heart.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
on 7 July 2015
Theatrical, unusual, gorgeous, emotion laden. This will not be for everyone!
when 'transition instrumental' comes in which segues into ' in this shirt' I have to stop what I'm doing and concentrate, sit down and weep like a bloody baby, very few things in life tug at my heart strings like Jamie's lyrics, arrangements and sheer passion of delivery, honestly he could be singing about washing up, but his expression of feeling cuts through me like a knife.