Extraordinary music legend Gavin Friday releases new album “catholic” today (digital) with physical release date slated for August. (MB3/EMI)
4 star Reviews from Uncut, Q, Mojo and more!
Plus Free Mp3 download
“torchy, mirror-ball beauty. These are his silkiest arrangements, but shadowy undercurrents ensure the tension never lets up.”
– MOJO 4 stars
“Friday shamelessly rekindles the Eno/Lanois unforgettable shimmer, croons against the dying of the light, and somehow emerges defiantly alive.”
– Uncut 4 stars
“Echoes of Yeats writing about the violent heart… the music policy is sui generis, nocturnal-futurist with Friday’s yearning half falsetto melodies drifting past moonscapes lit by neo ambient and late night club pulses ” – Hot Press
” In short, it’s a captivating listen from a distinguished performer. Welcome back, Gavin.
– Q Magazine 4 stars
“A gorgeous and emotionally breathtaking tour de force of orchestral grandeur, painfully intimate lyrics, and Friday’s trademark croon. You’re a soulless cretin if these tunes don’t completely melt your heart.” – Ology.com
“There are few more divisive figures in modern Irish music than Fionán Martin Hanvey, better known as Gavin Friday.” – State (Ireland)
“…when he’s on form the results are remarkable.” – Independent (Ireland)
“16 years off the circuit don’t seem to have withered his pen” – The Post (Ireland)
DOWNLOAD “ABLE” MP3
“Able, the album’s opening salvo, is an elated blast of stadium-bating synth-rock that is more uplifting than elegiac. Writhing in the song’s spiralling keyboard sounds and gently chiming guitars, Friday purrs in his inimitable style about love, loss and letting go. Buoyed by a pulsating bass line and Friday’s gruff half-spoken vocals, the song simmers and boils into a rousing frenzy of poeticism and rock panache, like U2 imbibing the introspective talents of Leonard Cohen.”
Q Magazine Track of the Day
“Able” is an unexpected masterpiece that gives us a glimpse of what is to come from Friday’s new album.” – Pop In Stereo
16 years since his last album, it’s time to salute anti-hero Gavin Friday, who returns to form with his new album “catholic” set for digital release in North America on May 17th with CD to come in late August on MB3 Records/ EMI Music.
In recent years, Gavin Friday’s career has been dominated by cinema, soundtrack and theatre. So its no surprise that their collective, lush shadow looms over catholic. Friday takes conventional song structures and scores them, adding Bowie-synths, sci-fi swirls, epic strings and Germanic rhythms. Friday still puts the same energy and passion into his work that he did as a founding member of seminal post-punk band, Virgin Prunes.
Fittingly enough, “catholic” comes to us at a time of upheaval, of political chaos, and of spiritual, financial and moral bankruptcy. Our world is a very different place since Friday’s last album, Shag Tobacco, was released. The intervening decade and a half coincided with a prolific work period for the singer. From award winning soundtracks – William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, In America, The Boxer, Get Rich Die Tryin’ (with Quincy Jones) and three songs to In The Name Of The Father which featured two collaborations with U2’s Bono (“In The Name Of The Father”, “Billy Boola”) and a Golden Globe nomination for “You Made Me The Thief of Your Heart” as sung by Sinead O’Connor – to collaborating on Nothing like the Sun with Gavin Bryars and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Then there was his acting debut (in Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto ), Scott Walker collaborations and a Kurt Weill show at Dublin Theatre Festival. In personal terms, he endured illness, the end of his marriage and his father’s death. To some, the personal is political; but Gavin Friday is clear that this is “an emotional, not a political, album”. The singer likens catholic to “waking from a deep sleep, of letting go and coming to terms with loss”. And somewhere in the middle of all that, there are slivers of love, contentment and romance.
“Sometimes when you’re building songs, they tell you ‘look after me’ or ‘fuck off, and leave me alone’”
In opener Able, there is the kind of declaration that comes with age and experience, “I want you to love me…don’t want you to lie”. Friday turned 50 prior to recording catholic and the songs testify to a life lived, but one that’s far from over – physically or creatively. Lord I’m Coming might sound like an incantation to death, but is counter-acted by the titular positivity of It’s All Ahead of You. “Did you know that best is yet to come?”, he asks rhetorically. The album oscillates musically and thematically between songs like Blame, dedicated to and about his father to Perfume, about our moments of promiscuity, and lack of communication in The Only One.
Produced by Ken Thomas (Throbbing Gristle, Cocteau Twins, Sigur Ros), Thomas’ influence is most obvious on Cocteau-Twins shimmer of The Sun & The Moon and & The Stars. The album was birthed in a pool of 38 songs, which were whittled down. All songs were penned by Friday and his new musical partner Herbie Macken. Cocooned in Friday’s Killiney home, recording took just six weeks and involved musicians Gavin had worked with before: Multi instrumentalist Herbie Macken, cellist Kate Ellis, guitarist JolyonVaughan Thomas, bassist Garth Hughes, guitarist Anto Drennan, drummer André Antunes, Moya Brendan [who guests on Lord I’m Coming ] and journalist John Kelly on harmonica. After spotting the Castleford Salvation Army outside a local shop, while mixing the album in Yorkshire, Gavin invited some of them to contribute and Ken Thomas’ daughter Amy Odell also provides vocals on Land on the Moon. Everything builds toward Lord I’m Coming, an existential, orchestral psalm, an anti-pop composition of profundity.
Artist. Germanophile. Singer. Non-conformist. catholic. All are intrinsically Gavin Friday, but the latter is definitely spelt with a small ‘c’.