- 12 May 01
1986 was an excellent year for Irish bands. Single released were aplenty, but the ones that took my fancy included Brush Shiels’ elegaic 'Old Pal’, Dorian Mood’s ‘It’s A Funny Thing’, and Something Happens!’
1986 was an excellent year for Irish bands. Single released were aplenty, but the ones that took my fancy included Brush Shiels’ elegaic 'Old Pal’, Dorian Mood’s ‘It’s A Funny Thing’, and Something Happens!’ debut EP ‘Two Chances’, which also happened to feature my favourite song released by an Irish group in 1986 ‘Shoulder High’. Something Happens! Will sin a major in 1987. Remember where you read it first).
On the live front, performances from The Golden Horde, A House, Blue In Heaven, and Something Happens! (again!) roused a weary body into something resembling motion. More reflective sets from Mary Coughlan and Flex And The Fastweather roused a weary mind into something even more urgently resembling thinking.
Visiting acts which proved to be worth their weight in gold included The Waterboys, who provided the gig of the year, Simple Minds at Croke Park, and last but by no means least, the bunch of gigs at the Olympia by Elvis Costello. I only managed to catch the best songwriter of the last ten years on his solo evening, but even without the muscle and meat of The Attractions to back him, he still managed to convince. Stripped down to the bone, his song may be leaner than a back rasher, but they punch, punch, punch till it hurts.
Favourite albums of the year include the ubiquitous Mr. Costello’s pair, ‘King Of America’ and ‘Blood And Chocolate’, while Everything But The Girl’s ‘Baby The Stars Shine Bright’ say the duo of Ben Watt and Tracy Thorn successfully adopt the guise of love-sick boy and girl. My most treasured single of the year came from Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, two relatively idiosyncratic personas working within the normally conservative environs of the pop charts. The combination, on ‘Don’t Give Up’, was unusually effective, 1986’s alternative Peters And Lee providing the emotional highpoint of the year on a song that could well remain on my record deck unless grafted off by laser.
Irony of the year? Billy Idol scoring while Sigue Sigue Sputnik flopped. Joke of the year? The Bogmen. Where are they now, just when we need a good laugh?