Cathal Coughlan
The Sky's Awful Blue


5.0
classic

Review

by DoofusWainwright CONTRIBUTOR (92 Reviews)
November 29th, 2017 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grey hair suits you.

The ‘mature phase’ or the ‘musical menopause’, call it what you will, is the career stage that can be hardest to manage and often proves utterly ruthless in its Darwinian ‘sink or swim’ judgement. Not every singer/songwriter can convincingly slow down those tempos and ramp up the maturity level, and not every lyricist can successfully impart the wisdom they’re supposed to have developed over those long years plying their trade. Of course you occasionally stumble across a performer who perversely sounds all the more vital after the last remnants of youth have passed. Cathal Coughlan, still most famous for his stint in Microdisney, became something of a firebrand in the ‘90s fronting the wilfully abrasive Fatima Mansions, and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a man who’d kick against mellowing out more than most. Not so.

This man’s solo work is absolute textbook mature singer/songwriter but at the same time quite obviously the most natural sounding material he’s ever recorded. Here his anger has receded into a simmering pool of cynicism that’s then matched up with his usual depressive outlook and penchant for detailed character studies. The musical backdrop works equally well, an understated combo of jazz and chamber folk instrumentation that stills allows for enough variety to pep up the track flow when needed, while most importantly never straining to compete for top billing with Coughlan’s one of a kind expressive voice. So although this latter career approach is unlikely to make Cathal a multi millionaire any time soon hopefully he can draw comfort from the fact that few musicians enter their mature phase and end up wearing it so damn well.



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Inspired by Fripp, I bring you a shorty review.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It’s a kinda boring review but don’t let that put you off the album :D

sixdegrees
November 29th 2017


2247 Comments


good length for a review unless your username is winesburgohio

Digging: Grace Kelly's Driver / Pole Younger - Grace Kelly's Driver / Pole Younger Split

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I’ll start banging out the two paras from now on then

sixdegrees
November 29th 2017


2247 Comments


excellent

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


15799 Comments


in turn, inspired by arcade

Digging: George Russell - Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'll try and shorten further on my next effort.



Also, anyone who finds this album too boring should try out some Fatima Mansions which is totally different.



Problem with FM is the consistency, 'Blues for Ceausescu' is one of my top 10 songs of the '90s but he never managed to record a whole album of tunes that good sadly.

Dewinged
November 29th 2017


7028 Comments


I dig the short format Doof. Will check this.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Appreciated Dewi, I can knock these out in half an hour give or take so maybe I'll go on a bit of a reviewing rampage now.



For the new releases I take on next year I'll still probably produce something longer, but old albums that no one has heard of? I'll keep 'em short.

Dewinged
November 29th 2017


7028 Comments


That actually sounds like a good plan, I might follow you up on that, too much stuff I want to review, no time and all that.

Papa Universe
November 29th 2017


8793 Comments


Judging by the name, it's either a Death Metal band or an Irishman. Judging by the album title, Destroyer just released an open-musical-letter-respose...

Digging: Gattopardo - Gattopardo

sixdegrees
November 29th 2017


2247 Comments


how about death metal with irish jig interludes?

p sure snoxall knows a few bands like that

theBoneyKing
November 29th 2017


13283 Comments


Nice soundoff

Would this sit better with me than The Clock Comes Down the Stairs?

Digging: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Probably at least a little bit better Boney yeah.



Cathal is officially my favourite discovery of the year as Microdisney, Fatima Mansions and the solo stuff all scratch very different itches for me. His vocals and lyrics are the constant, and real good imo.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


5977 Comments


still haven't checked him solo yet.. microdisney is killer, and Fatima mansions never got as good as the tune you rec'ed me.. This looks promising, cheers Doof old boy

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Butch, chuffed you dig that Fatima song

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
December 13th 2017


17118 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Honestly thought I might be overrating this piece of shit but spun the first half of the album yesterday and it blew me away again.



Favourite new album I’ve discovered over the last six months.



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