The scene is this: four childhood friends celebrate the end of their exams in a Dublin recording studio, accompanied by a bevy of musical acquaintances....
THE SCENE IS THIS: FOUR childhood friends celebrate the end of their exams in a Dublin recording studio, accompanied by a bevy of musical acquaintances. The hours are wee; the budget even smaller. The bare bones of a love song lie strewn across the floor.
Slowly, it is being recast into delicate, mournful shapes by Michael Smalle and Gerard Connolly, the songwriting heart of Cane 141. Reared in Galway on a diet of ’80s jangloid regret and the careful discipline of US hardcore, the Canes eye the resident electronic gadgetry with curiosity. It too, will be coaxed to serve their ends before the night is over.
A few months later, and those unlikely dawn experiments are now a debut album that recalls Belle & Sebastian’s old-skool acousticism. Steel guitar, tarnished brass and tambourine elbow for incidental space with washes of barely-there electronics. And although the young Canes may still be green enough to lay down the odd musical clanger – Connolly’s creaky vocal on ‘The Set-Up’, some destination-less guitar meanders – there are lifetimes of aching loveliness in every hangdog tune.
Indeed, the tender spangle of classic period Felt and Go-Betweens cozies nicely up to familiar US sadcore complaints on songs like ‘Summerlong’ and ‘When You Ride Away’. Carnivals leave town on at least two occasions, and young love founders. No new dawns appear, it’s true, but the twilight of the heart is revisited with accomplished grace. A scene to dig, then.