Cathal Coughlan, one of Ireland’s most revered and iconic songwriters, presents ‘Falling Out North Street’ from his acclaimed ‘Song of Co-Aklan’ LP, his first new music in ten years and sixth album to date.
Directed by Marry Waterson
Best known as co-founder and vocalist for seminal 80s/90s bands Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions, 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”.
Clichés aside, Coughlan returned with what can only be described as a ‘vengeance’. Vengeance, perhaps, on those who thought he might not have another great album in him, perhaps vengeance on himself for doubting that might actually be true. But it wasn’t. After a 10-year absence as a solo artist, Cathal Coughlan’s ’Song Of Co-Aklan’ album has been widely heralded as one of his finest, drawing national media attention in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, France, Switzerland and beyond.
Three singles – ‘Song of Co-Aklan’, ‘The Knockout Artist’ and ‘Owl In The Parlour’ – show the album’s diversity in tempo and sonic arrangement, corralled by Coughlan’s brooding baritone, caustic wit and irresistible choruses. Radio play across Ireland has been unprecedented, culminating in a playlist slot on RTE1 and steadfast UK support from Gideon Coe at BBC 6Music and John Kennedy at Radio X. The LP has even made inroads into US college radio with play on stations like LA’s KXLU, WFMU (New Jersey) and KDHX (St. Louis).
‘Falling Out North Street’ showcases a more reflective, downtempo mood, mirrored in a dream-like short film, directed by acclaimed Yorkshire-based musician and artist Marry Waterson.
“The song tries to describe the absurdity of trying to keep hold of sanity, dignity or confidence in the face of the remorseless advance of time. From the start of the song, a circular pattern from the bass guitar and a plucked cello advances implacably, as the vocal and some transient instrumental elements try to pick a way through the debris of lives and communities. A broad chorus breaks the deadlock every so often, where exhortations are attempted by a wall of voices. Eventually, the singer has to suggest that he and the person he’s addressing might have been better off and happier all along had they been pavement purveyors of shouted gibberish and box-room detritus. And so the song ends,” says Cathal Coughlan.
“This video work by Marry Waterson is astonishingly beautiful, and reveals more of itself on each viewing. Rather in the way that one hopes one’s music might do for the listener. A musician of renown herself, I think Marry has this magic in both fields. Really, I couldn’t ask for a better accompaniment to this song, itself also a patchwork of memories reliable and otherwise, experienced intermittently as the human condition reduces everything to a twilit facsimile.”
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 Llamasalumnus 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.
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
Photos by Gregory Dunn
“The lyrics are uniformly excellent…Coughlan reminds you again and again just how good he is” ~ The Irish Times
“A brilliant opus… perhaps his best record to date” ~ The Spill Magazine
“Each slice of spiky post-punk/pop is every bit as intriguing as his witty and acerbic lyrics” ~ Sunday Times
“Coughlan’s sixth solo album is a real gem” ~ Hot Press
“Definitively affirms Coughlan’s place amid Ireland’s poetic pantheon” ~MOJO (4 stars)
“Song Of Co-Aklan is a more than welcome return from a puckish master of social observation and surreal manifesto” ~ The Wire
“…shows off a rich, Scott Walker-ish voice that’s aging superbly…a welcome return” ~ Uncut