Song of Co-Aklan – Cathal Coughlan (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

With the likes of The Guardian newspaper and the legendary John Peel raving over Cathal Coughlan‘s music over the years, the latter going as far as saying that he could listen to him “sing the phone book,” there are many reasons to take notice of a new single from the man. Throw in the fact that the urgentcy and energy of the song seems rooted in a bass played by Luke Haines of The Auteurs fame, and it would be rude not to embrace it with open arms.

Besides, this is the first new music in a decade from the man who made a name for himself with such luminaries of the alternative scene as The Fatima Mansions and Microdisney, and it acts as both the title track and teaser for an album to follow.

As soon as his gorgeous voice and cryptic lyricism greet you, driven by the aforementioned reassuringly solid bassline, framed in keyboard washes, aided and abetted by some lovely sonic shards and resonant twangs of guitar, you know that everything is well in the world…at least for 4 minutes and 4 seconds.

Ironically, the song talks about everything not being well in the world. It threads together themes of isolation and muses on the role of the creative in such a disenfranchised and drifting time, and it considers the entrenchment and division which are driving a rift through society.

Poignant and musically powerful, Song of Co-Aklan is a great way for Coughlan to return to us. It is full of melody and mystique, purpose and poignancy, pop infectiousness and effortless alternative cool.

Great to have you back, sir.

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