My introduction to Microdisney’s vocalist Cathal Coughlan was at a Phoenix Festival in the early 90s when he was fronting the Fatima Mansions. I remember being much more impressed by seeing for the first time the Fall who played on the same day. Of the two new bands to me on that day. Mark E. Smith’s mob has stayed with me ever since, the Fatima Mansions, not so much.

Discovering Microdisney though, well that has been somewhat of an unexpected treat. I didn’t even realise that the duo of Coughlan and Sean O’ Hagan were Irish even when the names are a dead giveaway. It’s just that this music sound so English, it’s hard to imagine these songs coming from across the water.

Their sophomore album entitled ‘We Hate You South African Bastards’ was released in 1984 (Thankfully the moniker was altered to ‘Love Your Enemies’), and has aged quite ungracefully. The keyboards and synthetic beats are definitely a product of their time, but there is a juvenile rawness that perforates through the rough production with the likes of the low key ‘Helicopter and the Holy Ghost’ and ‘Hello Rascals’. The best moments on here though belong to the brooding instrumental, ‘Pretoria Quickstep’. It is only at this point in the record that you forget that you are listing to a piece of music that is twenty-nine years old. Secondly if listening to a slightly less unhinged Birthday Party appeals to you as much as it does to me then bonus props must be given to the track ‘464’. It’s simply devilish.

It is a shame then that ‘The Clock Comes Down the Stairs’, which like 'Love Your Enemies' has been recently re-released, ditches this raw energy and finds Microdisney embracing an Orange Juice style of poppy rock music. When it works on tracks such as ‘Genesis’ and ‘Goodbye It’s 1987’, it grants the band a reprieve pass from the bland instrumentation and middle of the road production. In other places the likes of ‘Humane’ and ‘Birthday Girl’ lay the band's weaknesses bare.

Of course, fans of the band have been holding out for these Cherry Red re-releases for an age, and with the exclusive tracks on offer it’s a pretty cool package for them but for the layman or a newcomer to the band there is a very limited appeal. You’d be better off giving anything by the Fall another spin instead; even ‘I am Kurious Oranj’.

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Commenting On: The Clock Comes Down the Stairs - Microdisney

ie London, England

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23802 Posted By: Damian (South west)

I have to disagree that you say birthday girl is weak...this song is very special. However, you got it right saying they were at times too synthy of their times..cause they could have kept the edge in some of the production the songs

21565 Posted By: Ray Nebbitt (Bilbao, Basque Country)

A rather mean spirited review of a great but flawed band.I hate to say it but I don't think you "get" Microdisney as you fail to mention Coughlans' lyrics.

Birthday Girl is a perfect example.You might say,and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you,that the music wanders dangerously close to blandness but listen to the lyrics and you cannot fail to be moved.
Give it another listen!

The above link might help.

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