- 24 Jun 19
Impressive offering from Dublin veterans.
Mercurial Dublin band The Pale return with their 13th studio album, and true to form, it has a little bit of everything. It has been said that you don’t release 13 albums without displaying a chameleon-like ability for change, and it is true of this release – from song to song, you never know which course it’s headed. This tactic of misdirection has served them well in the past and does so again.
Opening number ‘Krakotoa’ veers back and forth from swing to soul, with a couple of zingers thrown into the mix: “The sun above your head was turmeric/ When you asked who I was angry with.” The title-track, ‘Merciful Hour’, twists and turns beautifully, whilst ‘Ursa Major’ looks skyward in a meditative plea for guidance. In the process, singer Matthew Devereux evokes later Morrissey: “You could kiss me on the lips/ Be my judas/ Be my nemesis.”
There is a consistently reflective tone over the 11 tracks, and the production of Keith Farrell (Cathy Davey, Pugwash) keeps things interesting throughout. There are some misses, but the good triumphs.