Julie Feeney - Clocks (Mittins )
ATHENRY BORN Julie Feeney is not pop, nor classical, nor indie, nor folk, yet all these genres/approaches are discernible within her music.
Feeney is the kind of vocalist-composer who fits within a category of music where individuality, imagination, and a desire not to be constrained by clichés (regardless of genre ) are key, and interestingly this is a challenge women are more likely to take up than men - think Stina Nordenstam, El Perro Del Mar, Kate Bush, Björk, Beth Jeans Haughton, etc.
On her third album Feeney skips through genres - pop (‘Galway Boy’ and ‘Imperfect Love’, both of which could take up residence on radio airwaves ), traditional Irish melodies (‘Every Inch A Woman’ ), and world music (‘Happy Ever After’ sounds like a translation of a German/Swiss folk tune ), without every sounding unfocused.
This is because Clocks’ arrangements are all based around string quartets with the occasional extra such as bass, horns, accordions, or a stray guitar, and no percussion. In short it is about using classical music to communicate left-field pop songs. Lyrically it is also her most personal album to dated featuring songs about her family.
Clocks will be launched with a show at the Druid Theatre on Friday November 16. Doors are at 6.30pm and show starts at 8pm.
The Cubical - Arise Conglomerate
(Cargo Records/Halfpenny Records )
NOEL GALLAGHER has described The Cubical as “f****n’ mega!” and like their Mancunian champion, this Liverpool quintet unashamedly wear their influences on their sleeve.
The albums kicks off with ‘On The Weekend’, an infectious, horn driven slice of Mod rock, but it is a curveball as thereafter it is blues and r’n’b all the way. The inspirations are obvious - Brian Jones led era Stones and the raucous British blues of the early 1960s (‘It Ain’t Human’, ‘Lay Your Love Down’ ), 13th Floor Elevators garage-psych (the magnificent ‘1, 2, 3 Girl’ ), and sombre blues that are not so much Louisiana swamp as Mersey grime (‘Daily Grind’, ‘Old Idiot’ ).
A key part of The Cubical’s sound is Dan Wilson’s ‘whiskey’n’fags soaked’ blues growl which is strongly influenced by Captain Beefheart. But then, original as the Captain was, his own vocal style was heavily indebted to and shaped by Howlin’ Wolf - so wearing an obvious influence is not necessarily a crime or slight on a band.
While The Cubical may not be the most original act out there, it is good to hear someone champion British blues values and they play with an energy and commitment that is infectious, irresistible, and highly enjoyable.