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QUIET ARCH

Pat Dam Smyth

The Last King

    The Last King is the new album from Pat Dam Smyth, his first for Belfast institution Quiet Arch Records (Ciaran Lavery, Joshua Burnside). Along its mesmerising way, it takes in the Northern Ireland of the Troubles which formed a backdrop to Pat’s formative years; the angel on the sleeve of Nirvana’s In Utero; a psychotic episode in Berlin and The Last King himself. Pat recorded The Last King in Ireland and London over a period of two years, and when Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos heard early versions of the songs, he leapt on board for additional production and mixing duties, dropping some extra dark magic into the fire.

    As the Floyd-esque swirling synths of KIDS open the album, mimicking the sound of the Chinooks that beat out the soundtrack to Pat’s childhood, the scene is set for an album that takes the listener deep into the rubble; no sooner have your ears adjusted to the dark than they are blinded by the light. While the album may not quite be a love letter to the Northern Ireland of his youth, it is certainly a fling with his formative experiences and defining decisions he made. The Last King is a record of tender, guttural fragility and razor sharp yet vulnerable explosions of rage at the cards he holds and those he’s discarded, all the while laced with an optimism that carries you through; an optimism that makes a bargain with tragedy in Where The Light Goes – reminiscent of early Lambchop or Bill Callaghan before turning into a sing-along for the end-of-times - and an optimism that helped Pat himself survive a breakdown in a city and country where he didn’t know a soul, the subject of Goodbye Berlin. This is an album of pop-philosophy; choosing quiet storms of suggestion rather than frenzied outpourings of blame. And in this world he has created, Pat stands perhaps less a reluctant king, and more as an emperor of short circuiting nostalgia; a tailor of hope; and an accidental voice of our times.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Kids
    2. Catch A Fish
    3. Last King
    4. Goodbye Berlin
    5. Doesn’t Matter Now
    6. Another World
    7. Juliette
    8. Dancing
    9. Teenage Love
    10. Where The Light Goes

    Elma Orkestra And Ryan Vail

    Borders

      Uniting two of the Ireland’s most forward-thinking musical propositions — Eoin O’Callaghan AKA Elma Orkestra and Ryan Vail — Borders is a singular collaborative project. Spanning symphonic ambience to widescreen electronica, it’s a genre-warping meeting of the minds from two of the country's most innovative artists. Having both been releasing music independently of one another since 2012, the album is a project that has almost felt destined to happen. As two artists residing on either sides of the border in Derry/Londonderry, their paths have entwined several times in the past. Now, mirroring the spirit of the times — of grasping for unity and togetherness in an unpredictable, ultimately borderless world — Borders is a release that sees those creative paths meet head-on. Across eight tracks, from opener ‘Droves’ to the beat-laden outro ‘Arlene’, O’Callaghan and Vail masterfully blur the contours between contemporary electronic and classical realms.

      This breaking of new ground — of pushing boundaries and thwarting expectations via attention to detail and a joint penchant for analogue equipment — is what underpins Borders. They create a new continent of sound, a world where Borders don’t exist. Though it was titled before the looming spectre of Brexit, Borders, as an album, encompasses much bigger universal themes about belonging in a world where division is more rife than ever. And yet, there’s a uniquely personal aspect that runs throughout the release. “The album was written with the mindset that we were scoring the border between the North and South of Ireland,” reveals Vail. “While performing the album live, the audience will see a visual journey across various parts of the border.” Underlining the collaborative nature of the release is the presence of Dublin spoken word poet, Stephen James Smith (‘My Island’) and Moya Brennan, who sings in both Gaelic and English on ‘Colours’). Combined with O’Callaghan and Vail’s meticulous, inspired compositions, these tracks only serve to highlight the album’s staggering feat of collaborative spirit. The ‘Borders’ album will be toured as either a two-piece solely with Elma Orkestra and Ryan Vail or alternatively as a four-piece or six-piece which includes a string section. 

      Beauty Sleep

      Be Kind

        Beauty Sleep have earned a stellar reputation for crafting vibrant synth-driven pop music thanks to previous single releases like ‘Until We See The Sun’ and ‘All In’. Their debut LP Be Kind is released on Quiet Arch records.

        The captivating record showcases a young group clearly in love with the process of creating music together. Flush with golden vocal harmonies, dazzling synths and earworm hooks, Be Kind is a huge step in Beauty Sleep’s blossoming career. Beauty Sleep’s music is born of the friendship its three members share. The Belfast natives met first by chance at a mutual friend’s party. While chatting, Cheylene, Ryan and Aimee discovered a powerful shared creative bond. Overcome with the rush of inspiration only the prospect of a new project instils, the group decided to seize the moment and focus their energy into forming a new band. Enter the lush dream-pop Beauty Sleep makes today. Their strong releases have been bolstered by the band’s high energy live performances, which the group view as another avenue for communal celebration of music and dance. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1 The Dark
        2 On Repeat
        3 Rainbow Ballroom
        4 The Feeling Back
        5 Lies
        6 Synthetic Debris
        7 Woman
        8 All We See
        9 Nature Will Eat Me
        10 Be Kind


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