10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Cathal Coughlan's most consistently excellent album?,
This review is from: Rancho Tetrahedron (Audio CD)
Well, well, well...just when you're ready to officially declare the album dead as an artform, along comes Cathal Coughlan to at least temporarily breathe life into the format.
And it's no exaggeration to say that in my eyes (as in many others) the days of the album appeared to be numbered as a worthwhile format. It's hard for me to think of any from the last year or so that have been consistent enough to listen to all the way through (perhaps Mono's "Hymn to the Immortal Wind" was the last), and even previously reliable and trusted artists had begun to let me down. So thank god for Mr. Coughlan.
It's genuinely hard to pick out highlights or personal favourites amongst this collection of songs, because they all have their charms, and it's one of those albums where sometimes it's the song that you think you're least drawn to that you find yourself humming in the morning and ultimately seduced by. Perhaps the best way to praise the album is to say that this is a collection of extremely well crafted songs, but that whilst this makes them part of a long tradition, they are completely free from cliché - thanks mostly to Coughlan's unique worldview and his well documented ability to write exceptional lyrics.
The arrangements and playing on the album are also top notch, with credit due to the Grand Necropolitan players (who have been coming together for a number of years to help realise Coughlan's songs, and are rightly given joint billing for this album, as they were on Foburg).
If I was purposely looking for negatives (for the sake of a balanced review), I would perhaps say that this is rather more restrained than some of Coughlan's previous records - hence it perhaps doesn't have an emotional focal point or a `heartfelt outpouring' type of song like some of the others do. Often of course it's these sort of songs that affect the listener most deeply, and hence if you forced me to pick just one Coughlan song then it might still be "Dark Parlour" from Black River Falls. But as mentioned above, for sheer consistent brilliance, this has to stand on a par with any of Cathal's previous work.
In summary, I realise that I haven't mentioned a single song from the album in this review, but (having listened for a week) they are all excellent, so you could literally pick one at random as a starting point. It's doubtful that this album will reach many new ears, but existing fans should be as ecstatic as ever...and if you are unfamiliar with Coughlan's music but enjoy well crafted songs - traditional yet completely unique and original - then pick up this album.