It must be tough being an Irish singer songwriter. Once the doyen of the domestic music scene, they aren’t exactly the toast of critics or music fans today – largely due to the stampede of sheer averageness that followed the success of the genre’s big players. So what do you do if you’re a singer who happens to write their own songs, and pretty good ones at that? While many have chosen to hide behind a vague, band sounding pseudonym, Cork’s Bill Coleman is upfront about his single minded approach.
Not that he’s another miserable bloke with an acoustic guitar. Coleman’s second album shows that he’s easily as versed in the way of electronics as many of his underground colleagues – in fact the only difference is that he knows his way around a good tune too. The album gets off to a thundering start with ‘I Want You To Know’ and ‘Welcome To The Breakdown’, both combining the organic and the mechanical to perfection. It’s a pace he manages to maintain for the first half of the record, creating an effect not unlike Tom Robinson fronting an electro band.
Around the half way mark, however, he seems to lose the courage of his convictions and You Can’t Buy Back Your Life slips back into more familiar, less interesting territory. The songs still aren’t bad but , robbed of their more dynamic setting, just aren’t enough to hold your attention. With the first section of this record, Bill Coleman has proved that he has the right stuff. Now he just needs to hold his nerve.