Archive for REM

Review: Bipolar Empire Live @ Monroe’s, Galway (June 2nd, 2011)

Posted in General Tickets There Blog, Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by goodgutterpress

The weather hasn’t stopped people from coming out tonight to see Bipolar Empire in Monroe’s in Galway. The Dublin four piece have been busy over the last year what with recording in LA with the legendary producer Pat McCarthy who’s  worked with REM and U2 and Lance Hogan who put the finishing touches to their first album Feel That You Own It.

It’s clear from the start that this is a band that believes in the sanctity of the three minute pop song. They kick off with aptly titled Start the Show. It’s short and snappy in the rhythm section and is gently flushed with harmonies that  are similar to Teenage Fanclub.

Many will be familiar with Tempomanic from a RTE promo reel. The band recently jammed with a member  of Muse in Dublin. Comparisons have been made and they’re particular true of this number. With it rumbling drums and buzz-saw guitar it’s easy to see why it’s getting so much attention. Live it comes across heavier and more intense than on the album.

Bringing some Red Hot Chilli Peppers funk to proceedings is Playing With Fire. Lead singer Shane O’Reilly’s vocals have a soaring quality to them that are only brought back to earth when lead guitarist Mark Maguire, with ease and confidence, throws in a few slick guitars licks.

Their time in the presence of Pat McCarthy is evident in numbers like Trip Around the World and From the son as the harmonies sound like the best of early REM.

With no time to waste they move on to Open our Mind. It’s a pop rock anthemic with jangling guitar and a bouncing rhythm section. They’re pumped up and really enjoying themselves now. Not to over do things they take it all down a notch with the slow acoustic number; Why So Sad? which embodies their best trademark, the three piece harmony.

Their time in LA has infused things with a soft American vibe especially on Human Race. O’Reilly’s voice has a powerful but tender quality that could be mistaken for Jeff Buckley. As he moves through number like Smoking Joe and It’s Only Darkness he appears to grow with an unbridled confidence.

A surprise cover of I Want to be Adored by the Stone Roses brings a great reaction from the crowd who have now taken to the dance floor. At this point the place is heaving and a sweaty crowd are begging for more.

Saving the best for last is Feel That You Own It. Drummer Callum McAdam does a great job of nailing a solid beat and with O’Reilly’s vocals coupled with sublime harmonies this sounds like pre Joshua Tree era U2.

Tonight’s performance was certainly an ostentatious showcase of young Irish talent. Things can only get better for the boys from Tallaght. Watch this space!

REM – Collapse Into Now (Album Review)

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by goodgutterpress

When drummer, Bill Berry left REM in 1997, lead singer Michael Stipe suggested the band was now ‘a three legged dog’. With Berry off driving a tractor on his Georgian farm the remaining three members motored on in their own right. They decided against recruiting a new drummer and instead hired session musicians for live shows and recordings. However the dynamic making REM such a tight unit in the 1980s and early 90s was lost. This was obvious on 1996s Up and subsequent releases to date. So does their new record Collapse into Now continue a poor run?

The album’s opener Discoverer is one of the bands best offerings of the last decade and is reminiscent of Finest Worksong from their 1989 album Document.

With Stipe’s biting delivery and Peter Bucks searing guitar, All The Best is in the same vein as 2008s Accelerate album. Having often been cast as the elder statesman of indie rock; Stipe chooses to embellish the role as he declares “Let’s give it one more time. Let’s show the kids how to do it”.

REM songs have often used mandolin to good effect e g.  Losing My Religion. Oh My Heart capitalises on the successes of that 1991 hit single. With its memorable chorus and Peter Buck and Mike Mills providing strong backing vocals this is probably the catchiest number of the album and is guaranteed to get good airplay.

Everyday Is Yours to Win is a slow tempo sweat number that drips of sentimentality and leaves a warm feeling in your chest with lines like “I cannot tell a lie it’s not all cherry pie but it’s all there waiting for you”.

Besides its strange title, Mine Smell Like Honey is straight out of the REM textbook, with jangling guitar and lyrics about the vicissitudes of life and our endeavors to overcome them with Stipe claiming we “Dig a hole, dig it deeper and deeper. Climb a mountain, steeper and steeper”.

Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter sees REM in a playful mood. However the results could be passed off as album filler with the only notable point of interest being the addition of Patti Smith on vocals and Lenny Kaye on guitar. From this point onwards it feels as though the album drifts in B-side territory. Songs like That Someone is You and Me Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and Me fail to stand out.

The album ends on a memorable note with Blue which follows the format that we heard on Belong from 1991’s Out of Time with Stipe delivering a rolling monologue over early 1990s guitar licks and Patti Smith playing her part on vocals.

For a band that was the first to be dubbed ‘alternative’ in the early 1980s this album doesn’t break any new ground. It sticks to the same generic REM formula that fans have become accustomed to over the last few decades. That said, with their pop sensibilities, enigmatic frontman and devoted fan base; REM will always do okay in the album stakes. However albums are so often judged by what preceeded them. Released twenty years ago at the height of the REM’s success, Collapse into Now would be cast as a failure, however in 2011 it’s a moderate success.

MySpace Review – The DC Experiment

Posted in IRISH NOISE!, Music, MySpace Review with tags , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by Tickets There

thedcexperiment

The 2009 Dublin Rocks! Festival is taking place on November 13th and 14th in the Village on Wexford Street. To celebrate a rock festival (or mourn actual rock music), Tickets There is taking a look at all six acts that have been announced. We didn’t have too much joy with The Alphastates but things tool a turn for the better when we heard The Beat Poets. Now it’s time to look at Dub Country….but unfortunately, we can’t find their MySpace. Instead,. We’ll jump straight along to The DC Experiment who are scheduled to play on the 14th.

As usual, Tickets There hasn’t seen the band live or heard their record.

Right, The DC Experiment actually list themselves as rock, so that helps. The openings bars and vocal styles of first song, The Game would fool you though,. A tad too wishy washy to be considered rock n roll. ‘You’re a rock n roller, you’re a renegade’. Little too cliché for TT’s tastes and it sounds like Moby covering Rock N Roll Kids by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan. Very dull, very plain and very uninteresting. Still though, never judge a book and all that.

Now, second song Cassius Clay is a little more in keeping with the kind of style this band should stick to. It’s more along the style of bands like The Stunning. Melodic country rock with that ever so slightly horsey yet smooth voice. If the lyrics were a little more free flowing and certain words didn’t suddenly jump out then this song would be a much more stable piece of music. At the moment its holding its own and Tickets There is turned around a little and actually looking forward to the next one. See what I said about the book?

Tonight is like a mix of funk and The Game. The opening verse is kind of annoying but the chorus goes back to that smooth Irish country rock. There’s a nice bass solo at the bridge which will get your feet tapping. Something bugs me about the vocals. The singer (Dave Conway) can definitely sing, you can really hear it during the chorus. It’s a very distinct voice, cool voice and just a couple of tweaks would need to be made to turn this into a pretty great track.

Last song (there’s two more demo’s after this but we’ll leave it at this, give them a chance to finish the tracks before we jump on em). Who Are You has some nice harmonies in there. It’s actually a demo aswell so they haven’t been finished but the chorus will be a must hear when it’s done. The verse again is a little weak but overall the song has alot of potential.

Well, may not have been the most positive review I’ve ever done. There are a couple of things that bug me but Tickets There would recommend The DC Experiment If you’re a fan of bands like REM or the Stunning, then they’re a good choice to keep an eye on for the future. Just listening to A Weight (one of the last two demos) and it’s pretty upbeat and sweet so there’s more there than Tickets There has called out.

Check out their MySpace Now by Clicking Here.