Clann Zu – Black Coats and Bandages

Despite Clann Zú being being credited with writing all the music here
as a band, moreso than other groups, the driving force seems to be the
singer and lyricist, Declan DeBarra. He wears his ragged heart
unabashedly on his sleeve, and his distinctive voice is at the centre
of every song: at times plaintive, shrieking, delicate, or intense.
The songs are often political, sometimes intensely personal, and most
paint a bleak picture of desperate struggle and heartbreak (One
Bedroom Apartment has some of the best lyrics I’ve heard this year).
The music is appropriately a scratchy, spare base of acoustic voices
occasionally overwhelmed by bombastic waves of raging guitars,
violins, and hammering percussion. Declan’s voice shrills sometimes
disconcertingly and isn’t always on key—the songs often sound rough
and unpolished, albeit intentionally. Some patches can’t help but
sound a bit sloppy, though, and it’s not always an easy listen. An
honest, affective (sic) effort.


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