Author Topic: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan  (Read 594 times)

Rev+

  • Like it is, like it sounds
Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« on: April 07, 2021, 02:34:47 AM »
Is there a more under-promoted 'legendary' artist of our times?  Everyone seems to love him, but it doesn't translate into sales or exposure.

Case in point:  I didn't even know a new album was on the cards, but it's already here, and features some of his old collaborators (Sean O'Hagan/Aindrias O'Gruama/Luke Haines).

Only heard the first half so far, but it seems more 'immediate' than a lot of his solo stuff.  It's nowhere near as abrasive as Fatima Mansions, but is as abrasive as he's been since then. 

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 10:15:38 AM »
I really like it. His best since Black River Falls, I reckon. He is shockingly underrated. Even in Ireland, he's hardly that well known, so it was heartening to see the rave reviews he's been getting over there.

the ouch cube

  • you've got moomins on yr breath
Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 12:38:33 PM »
Only heard this new one twice but it seems a lot more immediately enjoyable than "Rancho Tetrahedron", which gave the distinct impression of being rather grumpily slogged to the finish line.

I was thinking the other day that it's kinda weird that the Mansions have been retrospectively slotted into the indier-than-thou sort of bracket beloved of people who bang on about the fucking Go-Betweens all the time, when it was always clear to me that they were a non-American analogue to Rollins, Tad, and so on.

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 01:03:27 PM »
Really? TFM had their heavier moments but I wouldn't have described them as a straight-up heavy rock act like either of the two mentioned. They were just as likely to throw in a random bit of italo-house, sarcastic pop pastiche or crooning ballad as they were to go full Rollins. Which is probably why they were such a hard sell to the mainstream rock crowd.

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 01:41:42 PM »
I could never get over how bland Microdisney were after coming to them after T'Fatima Mansions.

Probably not helped by the reviews where they were described as being revolutionary by Stuart Maconie or similar dullard.

I walked out of a High Llamas gig once. Boring freakin' grown up music for grown ups. And to be honest I only went to see Prolapse supporting them. Or was it them? Gawd, it was 25 years ago… 25 years…

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 04:09:00 PM »
I could never get over how bland Microdisney were after coming to them after T'Fatima Mansions.

I took a while to get into them for similar reasons (though 'bland' is going a bit far - this, for example, is anything but bland) but much prefer them now.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2021, 10:15:52 AM »
I could never get over how bland Microdisney were after coming to them after T'Fatima Mansions.

I never understood this accusation, although I do greatly prefer the Fatimas. I've read things like Microdisney were trying to subvert the mainstream which completely puzzles me. To me it sounds like just about every pop-orientated indie band of the time would if they got a major record contract with of a bit of money to do the recordings and were trying to sell some records. In a similar way to Aztec Camera in their Love period. Not subversive at all. Just pleasant. Coughlan's lyrics were a bit more satirical than Roddy Frame's but the latter retained his credibility. And had a couple of genuine hits, something to which this day has evaded Cathal. And I'm not mentioning the NME fundraising thing. I'd hear the Manics track on the radio but never the Mansions. I don't think it affected sales in the slightest.

Mind you, I gave a couple of mates a lift home from the pub a few years ago when they were both pissed. I had a Microdisney compilation on in the CD player and they ripped into it, saying it was: "Shit,''  and ''sounds like Hall And Oates.'' Both of which I'd dispute.

Rev+

  • Like it is, like it sounds
Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2021, 08:59:46 PM »
There was a separation between the music and lyrics along the lines of what the Beautiful South would be up to not much later, in that if you heard it without paying attention it might seem a bit like wallpaper.  They did some fuckin' bangers though.  I was a Tima Mansio fan when I first heard Microdisney as well, but it might have helped that the first Microdisney record I stumbled across was the Loftholdingswood/Teddy Dogs/464 EP, being aware that this was the guy's previous band and finding it in a record and tape exchange.  That one's a pretty good bridge between the two bands.

SpiderChrist

  • "the law of averages says you'll survive"
Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2021, 05:48:58 PM »
I got into Microdisney via a Peel session, which led to me getting a copy of the "We Hate You South African Bastards" album (mini-album?) when the HMV shop I worked in found out that they had ordered in a record that was on the list of banned titles issued by head office and I recognised the name.

"The Clock Comes Down The Stairs" is the album that turned me into a fan, though, this song in particular:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nkkWa_B-_k

When Fatima Mansions came along I was completely blown away, and still frequently am.

This new album is great, as is the vast majority of his stuff. I particularly enjoyed the Dead Sea Scrolls stuff he did with Luke Haines and Andrew Mueller.

I also have Cathal to thank for inadvertently getting me into Scott Walker, when a friend remarked on the similarities in their voices.

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2021, 07:47:17 PM »
This new album is great, as is the vast majority of his stuff. I particularly enjoyed the Dead Sea Scrolls stuff he did with Luke Haines and Andrew Mueller.

I love that album, especially Cathal's songs. I saw them play at St Pancras Old Church and it was one of my favourite gigs from last decade. Here's a performance of The Australian IRA Show from the concert. I was thrilled when he played 'Singer's Hampstead Home' in the encore, but that's sadly not on YouTube.

I also have Cathal to thank for inadvertently getting me into Scott Walker, when a friend remarked on the similarities in their voices.

I only got into Scott last year. I was disappointed when I finally heard his version of 'Long About Now' and he wasn't singing it, so I'm glad Cathal covered it. I always loved FM's version of 'Nite Flights', but The Walker Brothers version is the one (Bowie gets bronze).

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2021, 10:46:32 AM »

This new album is great, as is the vast majority of his stuff. I particularly enjoyed the Dead Sea Scrolls stuff he did with Luke Haines and Andrew Mueller.

I think it was Mueller who did a piece on the last Microdisney album 39 Minutes for that Unknown Pleasures (or was it Treasures?) booklet that came free with an issue of Melody Maker. It's a good album (their best along with their debut I reckon) but he was on about the subverting the mainstream bit again. It didn't though. It sold hardly any copies. Nobody except their fans noticed. And Mueller had a go at the Beautiful South, saying they were a pale shadow of what Microdisney were. If only that pesky public had realised and transferred their allegiances things could have been so different, eh?

Not having a go at Microdisney here, I'm quite fond of them, but come on....and it's not as if they (or indeed the B South) were the first act ever to realise that combining pretty tunes with barbed lyrics would be quite a lark.

Having said all that, I was quite surprised on a holiday to Spain at the end of the 80s to hear Herr Direktor on what seemed to be mainstream radio. This sounds like the sort of thing you'd dream but I'm totally convinced it happened.

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2021, 10:58:34 AM »
I think it was Mueller who did a piece on the last Microdisney album 39 Minutes for that Unknown Pleasures (or was it Treasures?) booklet that came free with an issue of. It's a good album (their best along with their debut I reckon) but he was on about the subverting the mainstream bit again.

Yeah, Mueller did an essay covering both 39 Minutes and Lost In The Former West in the Unknown Pleasures book. First thing I ever read about Coughlan's work, though it took me almost a couple of decades to get around to his music.

That book is still the best free gift I ever got with a music mag. I was reading a few of the pieces by Chart Music regulars again recently - Taylor Parkes on ABBA's The Visitors, Simon Price on More Specials (the first album I ever checked out from the book) and ROCK EXPERT DAVID STUBBS on The Lexicon Of Love.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2021, 12:03:05 PM »
Yeah, Mueller did an essay covering both 39 Minutes and Lost In The Former West in the Unknown Pleasures book. First thing I ever read about Coughlan's work, though it took me almost a couple of decades to get around to his music.

That book is still the best free gift I ever got with a music mag. I was reading a few of the pieces by Chart Music regulars again recently - Taylor Parkes on ABBA's The Visitors, Simon Price on More Specials (the first album I ever checked out from the book) and ROCK EXPERT DAVID STUBBS on The Lexicon Of Love.

Yeah, it was quite good. But I was already familiar with almost all the albums mentioned. And Price was very VERY wrong about the lyrics of Pearl's Cafe. It wasn't aimed at insulting an 'ageing tart' at all. Quite the opposite in fact.

Re: Cathal Coughlan - Song of Co-Aklan
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2021, 12:44:19 PM »
Haha, true. A very bad reading of that song, but at least he brought it to my attention. I was only 16 or thereabouts and not familiar with anything in the book when they brought it out, so there's a lot of stuff I might not have checked out when I did if I hadn't read it - Todd Rundgren, The Residents, The Raincoats, The Go-Betweens etc. etc. Still haven't listened to The Visitors yet though.

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