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I Woke Up And I Was Gone
Enduring Dublin outfit grow old gracefully
Colm O Hare, 11 Jun 2012
Best known as purveyors of an irresistibly catchy (and often kitschy) blend of funky ska rhythms, Eastern European textures and daft lyrics, I Woke Up And I Was Gone finds The Pale in reflective mood. With songs written over a three-year period by theatrical frontman Matthew Deveraux while living in Prague, there is little here to compare with the off-kilter quirkiness of their early ‘90s calling cards, ‘Dogs With No Tails’ or ‘Butterfly’.
Opener ‘Company Of Wolves’ is low-key and plaintive though it soon grows into a more dramatic vehicle. A near-perfect pop song, ‘It Should Be Illegal‘ has elements of Weller-esque Britpop, while the title-track, another pop gem with a memorable chorus, finds the group on more familiar territory. Nostalgia is the overall mood, the evocative ‘Hanging Around Airports’ being a perfect example. Meanwhile the mid-tempo, ‘Looking For Simplicity’ has echoes of mid-’70s ELO, with the frontman’s distinctive voice coming across as Scott Walker meets Marc Almond.
Elsewhere Deveraux displays his Flann O’Brien-esque sense of humour on ‘The Boy With The Antlers’ and Teenage Jesus (“In his room we found a gun, some porn and some rum”). A fine return.