Reviews

Cathal Coughlan


Irish music legend Cathal Coughlan presents the ‘Song of Co-Aklan’ LP, his sixth to date. His first new music in ten years, the London-based Cork native is best known as co-founder and vocalist for seminal 80s/90s bands Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions, who toured internationally with U2.

Coughlan has been described as “the most underrated lyricist in pop today” by The Guardian newspaper. DJ John Peel was also such a fan that he stated he could “listen to Cathal Coughlan sing the phone book”. 

“In the couple of years prior to making the record, I’d renewed contact with the other members of Microdisney, several of whom appear on this record, as part of the reunion shows we played in Ireland and the UK. As the result of that, and of other shows I’d played as a vocalist and collaborator, I found new musical acquaintances whose work suggested a wide palette. It felt important to make music in a more convivial setting than had been possible in a long time, which worked well until, midway through the recording, the pandemic dictated that the community of contributors had to become virtual,” says Cathal Coughlan.

Recorded in London, this album features Coughlan’s long-time collaborators from the Grand Necropolitan Quartet – namely Nick Allum (The Fatima Mansions, The Apartments), James Woodrow and Audrey Riley (notable collaborator of Lush, The Sundays, The Smiths, Nick Cave, The Cure and Coldplay).

On this album, Microdisney/High Llamas bassist Jonathan Fell unites with Nick Allum and Coughlan for the first time since the Fatima Mansions ‘Against Nature’ LP in 1989. Microdisney/ High Llamas alumnus John Bennett also makes an appearance.

The LP also features Sean O’Hagan (Microdisney, High Llamas, Stereolab), Luke Haines (The Auteurs, Black Box Recorder) and Rhodri Marsden (Scritti Politti), as well as contributions by acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Eileen Gogan, Andrías Ó Grúama (Fatima Mansions) and Cory Gray (The Delines) on wurlitzer piano.

Emmy award-winning director George Seminara created videos for title track ‘Song of Co-Aklan’ and the latest single ‘The Knockout Artist’, and Andy Golding (The Wolfhounds, Dragon Welding) revealed a hallucinatory infomercial-style video for ‘Owl In The Parlour’.

The eye-catching cover art for the ‘Song of Co-Aklan’ LP is by outsider artist Cristabel Christo and originated by Bruce Brand, award winning designer for The Darkness and Whites Stripes.

One of Ireland’s most revered singer-songwriters, Coughlan is beloved by fans of caustic literate lyricism and erudite songcraft. Since Fatima Mansions’ demise in the mid-90s, he has released five acclaimed solo albums and been involved in numerous collaborations and guest appearances. He and Microdisney bandmates were the first recipients of Ireland’s National Concert Hall Trailblazer Award in 2019, celebrating culturally important albums by iconic Irish musicians, songwriters and composers (for 1985’s ‘The Clock Comes Down The Stairs’).

As of March 26, the ‘Song of Co-Aklan’ album will be available across online platforms, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as well as physically. It can be purchased at https://ffm.to/ songofcoaklanalbum.

ALBUM CREDITS
Nick Allum – drums and percussion
Audrey Riley – cello
James Woodrow – electric & acoustic guitars
Rhodri Marsden – bass guitar, bassoon
Luke Haines – bass guitar, acoustic guitar, synth
Jonathan Fell – bass guitar
Sean O’Hagan – bass guitar & vocals, synth
Eileen Gogan – vocals
Andrías Ó Grúama – frictive guitar
John Bennett – vocals & slide guitar
Cory Gray – wurlitzer piano
Cathal Coughlan – Co-Aklan
Mastered by George Shilling
Cover by Bruce Brand & Mary Tee at Arthole
Front cover painting by Cristabel Christo, based in part on photos by Gregory Dunn / Stoneybutter
Composed and deranged by Cathal Coughlan

Cathal Coughlan – The Knockout Artist

Cathal Coughlan – Owl In The Parlour

Cathal Coughlan – Song of Co-Aklan

Cathal Coughlan links:
Band/Artist location – London England
WebsiteFacebook – You TubeSoundcloudBandcamp – 
Twitter – Instagram – AppleSpotifyAmazonDeezerLast Fm


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