Music: Rancho Tetrahedron by Cathal Coughlin * * *
For much of the 80s and early 90s the former Microdisney and Fatima Mansions mainman was one of Ireland's most gifted and prolific songwriters, a defiant and confrontational figure who called one of his Microdisney albums We Hate You South African Bastards!
This, his fifth solo release, boasts the sort of intelligent, erudite songwriting we have come to expect of the London-based Coughlan.
From jangly rock to Brechtian balladry, these are songs that take time to reveal their strengths -- Cathal's oeuvre has rarely impressed the casual listener -- although some tracks stand well above others.
The pick of the bunch is the Big Staresque Shipman Memorial and the lush ballad Avail.
Turin Brakes' Olly Knights and Stereolab's Andy Ramsay are among the contributors.
For those unfamiliar with Coughlan's work, the best place to start is Microdisney's 1985 album, The Clock Comes Down the Stairs, one of the best Irish albums of that decade.
Burn it: Shipman Memorial; Avail