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Irish Coffee - Irish Coffee CD (album) cover


Irish Coffee


Heavy Prog

3.52 | 52 ratings

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4 stars Hailing from Belgium, early Seventies band Irish Coffee only delivered a couple of singles and a sole album in their few years active, but the debut from 1971 is a bit of a dirty raucous ripper of organ dominated heavy rock with light touches of jazz, R n'B and psych but still finds time for more mindful breaks. Think bands like Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple, Rare Bird, Birth Control and Beggars Opera, with gruff Hammond organ to the fore and fleeting moments of drawn out jamming, but mostly delivering a strong punchy collection where the tune itself is always the priority.

Opener `Can't Take It' is up-tempo and infectious, a snappy rocker and blustery vocal belter powered by Jean Van Der Schueren's biting guitar slinging, Willy De Bisschop's pumping chunky bass and Hugo Verhoye's frantic drumming. `The Beginning Of The End' lurches with a dramatic heaviness of marching call-to-arms drum rattles, Paul Lambert's thoughtful organ interludes and dreamy chiming guitars with William Souffreau's blistering red-faced huffing almost taken to testicle- bursting extremes in parts! `When Winter Comes' slows things down for a Rare Bird-like stark and introspective weary rock- ballad (although there's an unexpected but very welcome energetic burst in the closing minute), where the vocals move between sombre spoken word passages, warm group harmonies and a romantic lead vocal full of aching longing crooning a despondent yet tender lyric - and damned if the line `Will you came and be my sun?' wouldn't win over any lady!

Prog fans shouldn't get too excited when they see the two-part `The Show' listed on the back cover that is split over the end of side one and carries on over on the flip. While they both share a similar `come see the show' theme and wild party vibe, the first is a unapologetic pop-stomper with funky grooving wah-wah guitars and brief wailing soloing spots, a screeching vocal and call-and-response Hammond trickles all swirling around a catchy chorus, while the second is dirtier with a murky sweaty sound full of lusty debauchery!

`Hear Me' has a crashing and restless momentum from delirious smoky Hammond organ runs and mangled guitar raggedness, and the tormented `the Devil's in my head, Lord I need you...can't help myself, it's this world that makes me do it!' lyric wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Atomic Rooster album! The almost seven minute `A Day Like Today' is one of the more ambitious pieces, full of ruminative droning Pink Floyd-like guitar drifts, and with its downcast and anxious anti- war lyric and desperate urgent vocal pleadings, its sentiment is undoubtedly genuine. Closer `I'm Lost' is another nice diversion, a gentle come-down pop-rocker with jangling acoustic guitars, a rattle of spirited drums and joyful Hammond organ, and both vocally and instrumentally it reminds of British band Beggars Opera from the same time.

While it's maybe not quite up to the same level as the best albums of several of the above-mentioned bands, listeners who dig those early `proto-prog' groups that made adventurous rock music full of cool playing and great tunes should have a blast with `Irish Coffee'. It's a grower of an album, one that proves highly addictive and seriously fun if you give it enough spins!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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