This week: Cursed Murphy versus The Resistance, by Cursed Murphy
To describe the subject matter for this week's column as a band would in many ways do the act in question a great disservice.
Cursed Murphy versus The Resistance is an innovative, ingenious and captivating vehicle for the spoken word adventures of author, Peter Murphy, and the musical tapestries of some of Wexford's foremost musicians including: Dan Comerford; the Gangus sisters, Rebecca, Tamara and Jasmin, and Kevin Dillon.
Next Friday the band will release its highly anticipated eponymous debut album on all digital platforms.
One of the most interesting albums to be released from an Irish act in a long time it offers up a treat of eclectic music and inspired lyrical messages.
'Burn Hibernia Burn' begins with a Gregorian chant styled, doomy, vocal line set to a subtle musical undercurrent.
An up-beat percussive backbeat is introduced before Murphy comes in with his trademark, spoken-word style vocal delivery.
This year the John Steinbeck classic novel, 'The Grapes of Wrath', celebrates its 81st anniversary.
For many, Tom Joad is the principal character in a book that tells a tale as relevant today as when it was released.
On 'Burn Hibernia Burn', Murphy reference's the book's standout character, Tom Joad, and he reveals a powerful social observation when he says: '..but when the coloniser's been and gone, the slave always enslaves his own, and someone makes a killing on the farm, Burn Hibernia Burn'.
The song has an infectious groove and a fantastic chorus hook, and the industrial nature of the music makes for intriguing listening.
The second track, 'Climb', has a fantastic beat and as the song progresses it becomes infused with a wonderful punky vibe.
Arguably, one of the more commercial tracks on the album it's repetitive nature means it gets inside your head with no intention of escaping.
That's the brilliance of top drawer songwriting, which this track exemplifies; it provides and escape for the listener but does so in a manner that means there is no escaping it once you've listened to it. Make no mistake 'Climb' is a track that will stay with you long after it's over.
'This Cursed Earth' has a very intriguing bass line.
It begins with some sparse, intermittent bass notes but the bottom end then vanishes before kicking in properly about 45 seconds in.
From an arrangement perspective its very interesting and works a treat.
At the 2' 20" mark there are high end bass notes used to emphasis the vocal line and, again, it's a wonderfully subtle component of the overall soundtrack
The song has a lovely groove but lyrically it carries a very strong message.
'The Bells of Hell' could be interpreted as a stark tale of solitude borne from one man's journey into self-destructive despair.
However, from a musical perspective the song is set to a rather frenzied, upbeat tempo.
'Foxhole Prayer' touches on the subject of spirituality and in a world where religious control and political apathy has led to a breakdown in societal morality, perhaps, the need for songs such as this has never been more important.
Personally, this is one of my favourite tracks on the album and it carries a hefty punch both musically and lyrically.
While there are a number of standout tracks on the album 'Cursed Murphy Blues' is the album's jewel in the crown.
It certainly displays enough authentic earthiness to pass the blues test but this is much more than just a standard 12-bar workout.
It also has an immensely catchy chorus.
Rhythmically, it possesses a wonderful beat and Comerford is able to flex his muscles in terms of the guitar patterns.
Many of the songs on the album are intricate observations of society and tracks like 'The Poor Mouth', with its shuffle beat, and 'Rise Again' highlight how clued in Murphy is to the world around him and the need for people to have something to believe in.
'Rise Again' also boasts a lovely intricate guitar pattern and it's also a song where backing vocals are utilised in exemplary fashion.
'The Resistance', perhaps not unsurprisingly, sums up all of the components that makes the band one of the most interesting acts on the contemporary Irish circuit.
'This is the resistance, prepare for war', sings Murphy and if ever a band tried to fight back against the wrongs of society this is it.
The album closes with 'We Are Dead Stars', which also features the Basciville duo, Cillian and Lorcan Byrne.
A thought-provoking track it provides the ideal culmination to an inspired collection of songs.