Clann Zú Black Coats & Bandages

With their debut Rua, Clann Zu sped through a ridiculous number of styles with an equally impressive songwriting dynamic, making the lyrical missteps, and it had its share, more than allowable. Really, the band could have jumped into any of the styles and ended up with a decent product, but I don’t think many of their fans could foresee an album as depressing and atmospheric as Black Coats & Bandages. On their sophomore effort, the group focuses on a consistent mood, one that exploits all the best and worst elements of the group. The instrumentation and production are both top notch, and the songwriting finds the band at its most consistent yet, but De Barra’s vocals very easily slip into annoyingly melodramatic and are certainly not helped by the lyrics, which can often sound like high school goth poetry. In a lot of ways Bandages is an improvement over Rua, but it was the variation and unpredictability of their debut that really made the lyrics excusable and this time around that element is sorely missing. This is still very much the work of a talented group, just clearly not in every department. (G-7 Welcoming Committee)