The Remedy Club are the husband-and-wife duo of KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen, and Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes is their debut album, set for release on October 8th. With the pair sharing the singing responsibilities, the co-written album does pretty much what it says on the tin, being comprised of songs about love (or, lost love), musical legends and songs the pair label “lost causes”. In this category, there are titles like ‘Get Away with It’ and ‘Bottom of the Hill’, where McEvoy masterfully manages to convey frustration and disappointment alongside lyrical images that boast a dark quirk:
“I got a belly full of liquor and a handful of pills, aint nobody gonna cure my ills/I fell off the wagon and rolled to the bottom of the hill”.
Among the category marked “love songs”, there are a few lovely duets, including opener ‘I Miss You’, with its elements of classic and contemporary country, and ‘Last Song’; a tale of a drifting relationship, led by the snare drum brush beats of percussionist, Lorcan Byrne.
Aileen Mythen noted that as well as wanting to create a record of original material, the purpose of this album was also about paying homage to the couple’s musical heroes, namely, Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt and Hank Williams. It is perhaps within this “legends” portion that some of the album’s strongest material can be found.
‘When Tom Waits Up’ – pun definitely intended – builds up slowly with a deliberate vibe of a typical Waits song. There are numerous tinkerings on piano and brass, a curious credit for “weights and jangling keys” and of course, a host of cryptic lyrics:
“Rooftops are glistening in the pale moonlight, throwing caution to the gentle breeze below,
There’s a glimmer of hope in the old clown’s eyes, as he paints his face before the show,
There’s a swinging hotspot just down the road, a stones-throw away from long ago,
Where ladies dance and men take a chance, before the barkeep says they gotta go.”
Like the Waits tribute, the homages to Django Reinhardt and Hank Williams, (‘Django’ and ‘Listening to Hank Williams’), borrow from the artists that inspired the works; encompassing Djangoesque guitar licks and Williams-style yodelling into the respective tracks.
The conscious idea of Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes make it a concept album of sorts, but without the ‘concept’ being rammed down the listener’s throat and while it boasts the familiar blueprints of a country record it’s not predictable or cliché, but rather, a good example of The Remedy Club’s talent for writing and performing good, solid Americana.
Christopher James Sheridan
Artists’ website: www.theremedyclub.ie
‘Come On’ – live:
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