Releasing an EP of the quality of ‘If There Was…’ was always going to be risky just months before unleashing a full length album. The question for said LP ‘Festival of Colours’ is: Can The Matinée Idles – AKA Kevin Barry – produce the goods over the course of 11 tracks? Well, for the most part, the standards remain remarkably high on a record that must go down as one of the most different and artistic efforts to come out of Ireland in a long, long time.
It There Was…, All In, Fallen Angels Stoned And Drunk and When It All Comes Down are all present from the EP and reviewed elsewhere on this site. Their ethereal wonderment is retained in the additional tracks on the LP.
Your Silence My Ego is energetic yet restrained, ready to pounce but never quite ready to let itself go. It’s set to a recurring bass-line and the most subtle of beats, with Barry’s voice remaining gentle yet authoritative throughout. Everything is by far the most accessible moment on the record, with it’s lovely acoustic picking and faint drum rolls – it’s almost trip-hop/folk, but since that genre has yet to be invented, not quite.
As You Are features a hurried rhythm and flecks of electronic embellishments while closer Wonderful finally banishes the slightly weird feelings of unfamiliarity that haunt the listener throughout – in a good way. It finishes the record on a resounding positive note.
If ever an album was a slow burner, it’s this one. The lo-fi beauty of what’s on offer is immediate, it just takes a while to get acquainted. Once you’ve negotiated your way past the relatively odd and at times unsettling soundscapes and got used to the contradiction of the vulnerability and gentle power in Barry’s voice, you can begin to enjoy this record for what it is. It’s a very, very different type of music. It’s not meant for pleasing the commercial masses, but it will find a place in your heart.