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Reasons To Be Happy – And Sad
Good and bad tidings this forthnight. On the positive side, General Fiasco have stopped pandering to the playlisters and released a scrumptious new single. Less positively, the wonderful Cat Malojian are no more. Pass the Kleenex.
Colin Carberry, 24 Nov 2011
Let’s get the sad news out of the way first.
Stevie Scullion and Johnny Toman, the dynamic banjo-welding duo behind Cat Malojian, have, after a near decade of wonderful songwriting, decided to call it quits.
Our regulars will be aware of how highly rated these two were in this manor, In fact, when it comes to classic Neil/Macca chorus-mongering their back catalogue could go toe-to-toe not only with any other local acts, but with quite a few with a more global profile.
However, while indie folk pop always seemed like a diversion for Jonny, who had spent most of his life seeped in trad/bluegrass, Stevie is thick with the stuff – so it comes as no surprise to discover that the guy has decided to carry on merrily along that path. Early sessions with Barrett Lahey sound very promising and hint at a more contemporary, swaggersome sound, so we’ll catch up with him soon to find out more. Oh, and he’s calling himself Malojian. As you would.
General Fiasco’s debut album Buildings left us feeling a bit derelict. Their fantastic singles – ‘Ever So Shy’ and ‘Rebel Get By’ – aside, the record’s airless production values seemed to be operating less in service to the songs than to some craven desire for airplay. Radio friendly but personality free – those of us who had been initially won over by the lads’ uncanny knack for conjuring up an airborne melody couldn’t help but feel short-changed.
However, however... The band’s new single, ‘The Age That You Start Losing Friends’ is exactly the kind of hail and follow comeback tune that re-ignites belief and clears the decks for a new congregation. It’s a brilliant, rousing, re-statement of everything that made them so promising early on. And suggests that while their old sparring partners, Two Door Cinema Club, were fastest out of the blocks, our Bangor chums shouldn’t take their lead for granted: General Fiasco have a mean sprint finish.
The Wonder Villains seem to have emerged from Derry fully formed as a pop band. 2012 looks likely to be the year when things get really interesting for this lot, but their new single, ‘Zola’, is a great way see in the winter.