Easpa Géag’s ‘Collapsing New Houses’ is made up of snippets of news clips and songs that would be familiar to most. In a nutshell it is like Reeling In The Years for radio. Each of the four tracks has a distinctive message linked with the collapse of the Irish economy and recent social change in the country. Easpa Géag use the four collages they have put together to highlight the country’s past faults and current issues, from recession to racism, whilst also creating substantial tracks of music.
Part 1 deals mainly with emigration, with help from clips of news bulletins from the likes of Sharon Ní Bheoláin and sound bites from those who were planning on emigrating. The most harrowing element of the track is the repetition of Westlife’s lyrics “Took for granted everything we had” from their 2001 hit World of Our Own. Musically as a whole, Part 1 is well put to together with the evolution of the clips occurring seamlessly and is by far the strongest track on ‘Collapsing New Houses’. Racism is the main topic dealt with in Part 2. Personal experiences are presented alongside chilled repetitive beats. The track develops and the mood changes into a heavier sound perhaps more appropriate for the topics being presented. However, as a piece of music this really works, although it might seem a bit uncomfortable for the listener to be enjoying a track that’s message is such a depressing reflection of modern Irish society.
The final two tracks are not quite as well moulded as the first. Although well put together Part 3 and Part 4 don’t capture the listener in the same way. Part 3 in particular is a disappointment, however credit should be given to the modification of a vocal line to imitate a train. This track also sees an appearance from Thin Lizzy, although such extensive use of one track could be viewed as lazy. Part 4 is a good indication of what Easpa Géag can do musically, which is positive considering their skill may have been absorbed by the issues at hand in previous tracks. Yet, again the track fails to make any real impact. ‘Collapsing New Houses’ is well put together and at times entertaining, particularly the opening two tracks. However, it has a lot of flaws too. True, the collages are assembled seamlessly but that may not be enough to hold a listener’s attention and it is hard to see this being exposed to repeated listening.