In this week’s 4fortyfour group review we cast our ears over the self-titled debut album from Padraig McCauley and The P Affection. For those that don’t know, Kildare-based McCauley cut his teeth as songwiter, bassist and vocalist for Shoot Absolute.
(Please note that, due to some technical difficulties, we are unable to bring you all the reviews we received this week. We hope to correct this issue in future editions of The full 4fortyfour)
The self-titled debut album from Padraig McCauley & The P Affection is a breath of fresh nostalgia. The ten tracks are a homage to the best of 1980’s pop. I’m not talking Bananarama pop but the good stuff like Lloyd Cole, Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout. This album though is not a weak imitation of the best music from the 80’s but it’s a bunch of well written catchy pop gems which shamelessly displays it’s influences on it’s sleeve.
The album kicks off with the best pop song written in about 25 years entitled ‘Worries of the World’. The brass section and guitar rift of ‘Trouble in Paradise’ brings to mind Madness. ‘The Flood’ is a well written love song with colourful lyrics. The catchiest chorus belongs to the track ‘I’m Fucking Amazing’ and reminds me of the pop music Irish band Blink used to make in the early 90s. The album closer ‘Beggars & Cannibals’ even has steel drums in it in case you missed all the 80’s references during the previous nine tracks!
I really enjoy the simplicity of Padraig McCauley & The P Affection. It’s a fun album from a quality vocalist and songwriter. The music is just pure pop from start to finish. With all the gloom in the country someone should tell the radio stations to play some of this album for high value entertainment!
While I can see where Peter is coming from when he draws comparison with the likes of Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout – the latter being one of my all-time favourite bands – I found Padraig McCauley & The P Affection had more in common with the post-punk doodling of Sultans of Ping FC than it did with Paddy McAloon and company.
As edgy and intelligent as McAloon is as a songwriter, I can’t imagine him penning a chorus like the one in ‘I’m Fucking Amazing’.
That’s not a criticism by the way. I think this is a fantastic, if, in parts, slightly flawed record. It is pop, but it’s pop with an edge so sharp it’s a wonder it doesn’t cut your ears. It’s a record with a conscience too, tracks such as ‘Almost in Greece’ and ‘Trouble in Paradise’, are clever critiques of modern life, belied by instantly memorable melodies.
‘Worries of the World’, ‘Daisy’ and ‘My Side’ are the three stand-out tracks for me, all worthy of radio play on more than just “alternative” stations.
The flaws are minor. There are times when McCauley’s vocals get a little lost in the mix, making it difficult to hear the lyrics. This is frustrating as the lyrics you can hear are clever, witty and intelligent.
Overall, Padraig McCauley & The P Affection is one of those records that makes you look forward to long, hot, summer days when an album this full of pop-tinged joy will provide the perfect soundtrack.
That’s what we think, what about you? Padraig McCauley and The P Affection was launched on on February 5, 2011. You can download a free copy from here or have a listen below: