Polaris – Sons of Southern Ulster (Pete Briquette Remix) (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

They say that you should never meet your heroes. But they also say that “many a mickle makes a muckle,” so perhaps we shouldn’t listen to the advice that “they” pass on. Case in point, when Justin Kelly, who makes up 50% of the Sons of Southern Ulster, eagerly bought Boomtown Rats singles as a teenager, he probably didn’t think that one day the band’s bassist, Pete Briquette, would one day be remixing his music.

And that is where Polaris comes in. Taken from the e.p. Turf Accountant Schemes, it is one of four songs that first appeared on last year’s Sinners and Lost Souls album and which has been given a new sonic outing thanks to the deft remixing of the Rat’s former bassist.

It’s a gorgeous blend of soft cinematics and sparse soundscapes, slow atmospherics, space and tension. Above this is a spoken word narrative that echoes both the rich Irish literary tradition and the band’s passion for writing songs that tell of the lives of ordinary folk from their own County Cavan home, an area that Mr B. also hails from. Regret, missed opportunity and the demon drink rub shoulders with celestial flights of fancy, stargazing and dreams of escape in this wonderfully whistful and reflective ballad.

It is music in which our everyday protagonist breaks free of the confines of the rat race and the dead-end cycle of life and surfs through the heavens on his own piece of stardust. And who doesn’t need a slice of that sort of optimism in their lives from time to time?

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