» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Clann Z
Black Coats and Bandages
G7 Welcoming Committee

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
So I saw something interesting the other day. I was at a record store, one of the carbon copy chain stores of the big corporate variety. I stood there, surrounded by glass walls that were covered in posters, each advertising those shitty pop acts we love to hate. I looked around to find that all the stereotypes were representing that day: the hip-hoppers, the emo kids, the ravers, and the Linkin Park crowd. It was a musical UN meeting... or perhaps a musical G8 summit. We were all floundering in the vast ocean of CDs, these strangers and I. It was peaceful, but it could only last for so long - there was an ominous feeling; the calm before the storm.

Some generic pop was playing in the background, its monotony broken by an argument; it wasn't just any argument, but one about music. I listened intently. I am a reviewer god damnit - these matters concern me.

Apparently two of the sweater-wearing kids were trying to show one another up in musical taste. It was one of those "my favorite band is more edgy/obscure/deep/creative/weird than your favorite band" arguments. After hearing them rattle off a list of shitty, wack acts (yes, wack) playing in their respective hackneyed genres I entered the conversation.

"Listen up bitches," I said, "I listen to Clann Z; you've probably never heard of them, and that's because they are from Australia."

They hadn't, and I started again.

"They play slow indie-rock type music. They have a guitarist that plays the keyboard, they have a few songs sung in Gaelic, and they even have a member whose sole purpose is sound manipulation. Their singer plays a Bodhrn; yeah bitch, you heard me, a fucking Bodhrn. Do you even know what a Bodhrn is?"

They didn't.

"It's an Irish drum."

And that ended that. Step to a Lost at Sea staff writer and bitchez get owned.

Although that story may have been entertaining (not really), and is (somewhat) true, it doesn't quite accurately reflect Clann Z. This band could easily win a record store argument, but dismissing their newest album, Black Coats and Bandages, as just that would be doing it a disservice.

Clann Z will grow on you, and if you're an Irish-American like myself, you will grow to love it. While other bands are writing songs about bad break-ups, Clann Z is writing about imperialism, war and dispossession.

There is so much about the Irish experience hidden in the lyrics, including references to coffin ships and songs that accurately reflect the Irish experience in Northern Ireland. The lyrics are desperately powerful. Vocalist Declan de Barra's voice can be deep or high, but is always deadly serious. It has a presence to it, and it is hard to describe in words. To put it one way, the man could be singing "ring around the rosy" and still be taken seriously. His charming Irish accent just highlights the sentiment of his vocals.

The music is intense without being fast. It sneaks up on you. Simplistic guitar parts build in the background as a piano is played over an unconventional drum part. Then it hits - the small riff has now become the main melody, and the piano is off in the distance. That climactic gesture describes the music at its best. When it's at its worst, it can be slightly boring. That's not to say the music isn't solid and powerful, but it would be better if they diversified a little, and made the music match the aggressiveness of the lyrics. Personally, I would love to hear this band rock out a little more on this album.

If you're looking for an unconventional album to waste the day with, then Black Coats and Bandages may just be your new best friend.

Reviewed by Nick Shea

See other reviews by Nick Shea



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