Arts

Albums: The Who, Idles, Beans on Toast and Bear's Den

The Who album Who

The Who

Who

WHO might be the veteran rockers' first album in 13 years (and only their second in 37), but it has a vitality that belies their years.

All This Music Must Fade is an object lesson in how to start a rock album – with a powerful, upbeat song that sets the scene. The bluesy Ball And Chain is about the Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba, with lyrics a lot more considered than hoping for a My Generation-esque early death.

Detour is poppier, with even a touch of lounge, but with its name – The Who evolved from The Detours – and its Baba O'Riley-style keyboards, it's also fondly sentimental of Townshend and Daltrey's 60 years of shared history.

Townshend sings lead on the beautiful orchestral pop song I'll Be Back. We can only hope they are.

Rating 4stars

Padraig Collins

Idles

A Beautiful Thing: Idles Live at Le Bataclan

WITH their long hair and sweaty, shouty punk-rock music, it's hard to ignore Idles at the best of times.

Now, with the current inescapability of all things political, it's pretty much impossible. But it isn't just the Tory-bashing lyrics or tongue-in-cheek reminders that "Islam didn't eat your hamster" that make Idles such a cracking listen – it's the performance and the passion.

And these are two things that their new album, A Beautiful Thing: Idles Live At Le Bataclan, has absolutely bags of. The album is a mash-up of songs from Brutalism and Joy As An Act Of Resistance but, while there's nothing new material-wise, the live performance gives the songs a new dimension.

There is, admittedly, some reduction in sound quality and a couple of other blemishes that would normally be removed in a studio-recorded album, but the rawness that replaces it is something which really plays to Idles' strengths and truly brings out the band's angry, political and head-banging brilliance.

3stars

Mike Bedigan

Beans on Toast

The Inevitable Train Wreck

IF THERE were any justice, musically or politically, long-time cult folk hero Beans On Toast would break into the mainstream with this finger-on-the-pulse sermon for our troubled times.

Produced by and featuring two-thirds of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, the album adds a rock-and-roll bounce to Jay McAllister's traditional acoustic approach - but the lyrics are what it is about.

Climate change is addressed throughout, from the macro to micro levels of Extinction Rebellion and festival littering, while the political climate and increasingly pervasive use of technology also dominate McAllister's thoughts.

Two songs in particular evoke the issues outstandingly. The single England, I Love You opens with reference to "the hottest day in London on record", immediately forgotten as Brexit, data hacks and misplaced anger distract our "divided kingdom" with its "delusions of grandeur".

The closing On & On, meanwhile, focuses on trying to live your own life against a backdrop where "Donald is the king and Boris is the queen".

Rating: 8/10

(Review by Tom White)

Bear's Den

Only Son of The Falling Snow EP

HINTING that a new album is in the works, duo Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones have teamed up with long-time collaborator, producer and friend Ian Gimble to explore new ground and create something lyrically reflective – a skill of which Davie and Jones have become quite the masters.

Themes of family and nostalgia runs right through but all share a common link to winter, and what this particular season means to the band – and perhaps to their fans.

Only Son Of The Fallen Snow barely deviates in tone and sound from the material on their third album – it doesn't seem new, but all can be forgiven since it is wonderfully accompanied by new tracks The Star Of Bethnal Green and Longhope. The release has been timed perfectly – it's a lovely little Christmas present from them, to us.

4stars

Charlotte Kelly

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Arts