Wednesday, 4th July 2012
Saturday 11th of August brings another stunning live gig to Shortt's
If you try to calculate the amount of music that calls on you to listen to it, you might feel the need to retreat to the nearest cave in order to escape it. Between the deluge of online chatter and most of what you're force fed on too many radio stations to mention, it's no wonder that sometimes the best music gets lost, and no surprise that sometimes the best bands get forgotten about.
20 years ago, The Pale made their major label debut with Here's One We Made Earlier, an album that introduced a band that, from then to now, has succeeded in blindsiding their audience with music that is equal parts eminently melodic and utterly singular. "I'm not good at focusing on the commercial aspects of music and trends," says The Pale's lead singer and main songwriter, Matthew Devereux.
Therein lays not only the pleasure for the creative spirit but also the problem for the accountants. Inevitably, The Pale's tenure on the major label didn't last too long, and so began a number of years where the band (in effect, Matthew and multi-instrumentalist Shane Wearen) soldiered on.
Albums you've probably never seen stocked in record shops - Cheapside (1996), Cripplegate (1997), Spudgun (1998) – were released in parts of Europe you've probably never been to. The band even changed their name to Produkt, under which name more albums were released to further rippling waves of unawareness.
The aim, essentially, was to retain credibility. "I was inspired by artists whose careers I've followed through the years, and I take rather earnestly my inspirations from people who didn't follow contrived commercial interests," says Matthew of his cunning but not necessarily financially rewarding plan. "Call it resilience (compulsion, even), but such a stance is so innate that it becomes part of the creative DNA. For us to get albums released in even one European territory was a victory," comments Matthew. "My ambition was obviously not for The Pale to become smaller, but it seemed that we were just out of tandem with the industry, particularly in Ireland."
"I feel guilty about how indirect or obscure I may have been about certain things," says Matthew with a wry grin. "We suddenly found the drive again to make the music far more accessible, more direct. I had realised we needed to be. Back in the day, my youthfulness and aggression got in the way of looking for clarity."
The new songs – largely written over the past three years while Matthew was based in Prague - are based on truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. "When I was younger I wanted the music to do different things, one of which wasn't the kind of truth that I feel we've stitched though The Pale's work in the past five years. I've realised, ultimately, that truth has freed me." The feedback to this sense of directness has taken Matthew by surprise. "The more honest I was the more I connected with it. The idea that I can be so direct and that people are openhearted to it is something I never expected."
'Roll down the window, throw away the plot…', sings Matthew on It Should Be Illegal, one of the album's many highlights. The lyric could well be The Pale's new modus operandi - after over 20 years of working through life's stuff and nonsense, it seems they have come to realise, finally, that less is more.
"I could never understand why some people I know would spend 12 years to be a brain surgeon. But now? Now I totally get it.
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Google AlertWhen a company which has it's European Headquarters here in Ireland is called 'evil' and 'immoral' by M.P.s in The House of Commons you tend to sit up and take notice. The particular company that was being referred to was Google and the reason it had enraged M.P.s in London was because even though it has a big operation there and conducts a lot of business there it pays no corporate tax. It does this by having all of its financial transactions finished here in Ireland. And the company here is …
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