CATHAL SMYTH A Com­fort­able Man

Phoenix Ris­ing

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

Chas Smash, one of Mad­ness’s ir­re­press­ible ‘Nutty Boys’, would start a jerky dance-off at the drop of a pork pie hat, but 30 years later Cathal Smyth is a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of mixed-up fish al­to­gether, and his de­but solo al­bum is a tes­ta­ment to a life turned up­side down. A

Com­fort­able Man is a cathar­tic ex­er­cise, as Smyth sings about how his mar­riage break-up and no longer be­ing a stay-at-home fa­ther have im­pacted on his life. There is, then, noth­ing of Mad­ness’s melodic, knees-up jol­lity here; rather, Smyth (who is no longer with that group) has taken the op­por­tu­nity to lay bare his thoughts about per­sonal mat­ters across a se­quence of gen­tly wrought, beau­ti­fully or­ches­trated bal­ladic pop songs with rather mo­rose ti­tles such as Good­bye Planet Earth, A Re­quiem for Com­mon Sense, and Are the Chil­dren Happy?

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