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Dublin indie band arrive in style on second album.
Anne Sexton, 15 Jul 2011
Rachel’s Apartment is the second full-length album from Dublin’s Readers Wives. Changes in their line-up are matched by an evolving sound, which effectively captures the energy of their live shows. The Wives’ strength has always been the quality of singer Niall James Holohan’s lyrics. Alternatively romantic and cynical, these range from the poetic to the acerbic, variously recalling Alex Turner and Jarvis Cocker.
The album opens with ‘Lenny Fucking Bruce’, a seemingly straight-up guitar-driven number, but one with hidden barbs: “Yes, I’ve done my bit for integration, the cheapest way to travel is date a foreign bird.”
The album continues in much the same form, until the fifth track, ‘Isadora Duncan’, a spoken word piece set to music featuring Cathal Coughlan. The possible pretentiousness is ameliorated with sly humour: “I’m Isadora Duncan, I’m dancing on the landing/ If you can fuck to it it’s rock and roll, that’s my understanding.” Although this flows into ‘God With A Brigand’, which picks up the energy again, it would perhaps have been better towards the end.
The album closes with ‘Serial Monogamy’, a love-it-or-hate-it track, juxtaposing a loping melody with a caustic tale of a one-night stand: “I’m no serial monogamist, I’m like a dog when I get pissed, climbing on the nearest bitch to me.”
Rachel’s Apartment is uneven in parts, but contains moments of real brilliance. Of all the contenders to Ireland’s indie throne, the Wives may just be the ones to watch.