Review of Made In Dublin Album by Aslan

Aslan - Made In Dublin
Aslan - Made In Dublin - CD and DVD set Review


Made In Dublin

Made In Dublin is a double live album, with the audio version of the gig on one CD and the filmed footage of the gig on the other plus a few extras. It was filmed at Ireland’s prestigious Vicar St., the DVD ‘chronicles their 5 sell-out shows’.

The audio version doesn’t have the feel of a live album apart from thecheering of the crowd after every song until ‘Crazy World’ duringwhich the crowd sing in place of singer Christy Dignam. This may be a littleunfair though because I’d not heard any of their stuff before and for alive recording it’s not bad. In terms of quality, the recording is prettygood although it can be quite hard to understand Dignam when he talks (that couldjust be his accent though).

Aslan - Made In Dublin - CD and DVD set Review

A few tracks draw comparisons starting with ‘Pretty Thing’, three songs in, which really does sound something like Weezer’s ‘Buddy Holly’. It reminds me of sixties rock ‘n’ roll mixed with Phil Collins meaning it’s rather happy clappy but for all that you can’t fault them for their passion. Aslan are indie-folk with a gospel bent sometimes, not more evident than during Crazy World.

After a while, it all starts to sound the same with only a few tracks sounding different with one, ‘Chains’, feeling like the twin of Radiohead’s ‘High and Dry’. It has a bluesy feel to it and a country twang of a melody complete with hand-clapping from the crowd. What really grabs the attention though is a cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ which sends more than just a shiver down your spine. Starting off acoustically, just Dignam and guitarist, Tony McGuiness, it’s eerie.

But, when it comes to the DVD, ‘Made in Dublin’ is a real treat.For once the commentary on it, that’s between some of the songs, is reallyentertaining and as much for people new to the band as the fans. It makes youwant to watch on and for someone dreading self-indulgent waffle this was mostunexpected. It even manages to put a whole new perspective on the band – Inever knew a DVD could do this. You can access each little bit of commentaryvia a menu with a quote summing up what that particular section is about.

The camera-work is excellent, a combination of intimate stage and mid-audience shots. It’s possible to get a feel of the atmosphere of the venue but also the mood of Aslan themselves. And together with the commentary it’s almost more informative than the biography that’s provided with it. The bonus material is quite good though with a couple of videos for the 2003 ‘Crazy World’ promo version and a special bonus version of the Rolling Stone’s ‘Angie’. Both are basically live versions of the songs but Angie has footage from the gig interspersed with scenes from the commentary.

If you just take the CD, it isn’t a very remarkable live album but, together with the DVD, ‘Made In Dublin’ starts to look bloody good value. Fans of bands like Turin Brakes will love it but then again, it would be unfair to pigeon-hole them like that. Good stuff.