KIRAN LEONARD'S previous album, Derevaun Seraun, was his personal response to favourite pieces of literature. His new album, Western Culture, released last month via Moshi Moshi Records, sees him move from the personal to the political.
On Western Culture, Leonard examines the failure of communication in the age of fake news, the lurch to the hard right across Europe and the Americas, and how the political and financial class is ultimately to blame for these outpourings of hate, anger, and frustration. As he sings on 'Legacy of Neglect': “There is no choice of answer when you’re desperate, when you’re kept from setting the agenda. The subject is left boxed in with the wrong question.”
Speaking about the ideas behind the album, the Saddleworth songwriter said: "I like the phrase 'western culture' very much because it is a resounding clang from a hollow vessel. What does ‘western culture’ consist of? This question changes shape depending on who is speaking: ’culture’ is constantly evolving and autonomous, rapidly reacting to and altering the present in which it unfolds, but is simultaneously regarded as something static and possessed, corresponding roughly to ‘tradition’ or ‘heritage’. And so very often when we talk about culture, we reveal our personal conceptions of world events and of what is to be done."
Musically the album, as a review in The Guardian noted, is "played with a straightforward setup of guitars, drums, and strings, their garage-y freshness make them a pleasure to fleetingly sit with – a little like the Chicago school of jazz-rock...with a Beefheartian energy"
Kiran Leonard plays the Róisín Dubh on Wednesday November 21 at 8pm. Support is from Anna Mullarkey. Tickets are available from www.roisindubh.net; the Ticket Desk at [email protected], Shop Street; and The Róisín Dubh.