TOM WAITS - ‘RAIN DOGS’ (1985)

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE CRITICS’ CHOICE -

Ciaran Lav­ery

Tom Waits still fright­ens the life out of me. He has al­ways seemed oth­er­worldly or an ac­tor flam­boy­antly play­ing the role of a real-life per­son. I ap­proached his mu­sic with so much in­ter­est and cau­tion si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Rain Dogs landed on my lap in the form of a bro­ken plas­tic CD case – a gift from Santa Claus him­self. I sat cross­legged on the floor of my room in front of the CD player with a sense of both ner­vous in­trigue and a hope­ful­ness that I would “get this”.

I had be­gun a col­lec­tion of his work span­ning from his back cat­a­logue at Asy­lum Records, so I was fa­mil­iar with the Tom Waits growl that ap­peared some­where be­tween Clos­ing Time and Small Change. What I wasn’t pre­pared for was the ex­plo­sion of Afro-Cuban brass and per­cus­sion mar­ried with Ger­man polka rhythms, or the all-round weird­ness, in fact. I smiled from the in­side out.

This al­bum is so di­verse and some­thing I’ve ref­er­enced in some way or an­other in the stu­dio. It can­not be de­fined by genre or be pi­geon­holed. No­body will ever lis­ten to this and ut­ter the words “it sounds a lot like . . .” and for that rea­son, I adore this. It is sim­ply the sound of Tom Waits, a true artist cre­at­ing new rules & push­ing bound­aries, like all mem­o­rable forms of art should.

-In­con­ver­sa­tion­with­Nial­lByrne

■ Ciaran Lav­ery’s new al­bum Sweet De­cay is out now. He plays Whe­lan’s, Dubli­nonApril19th.More­tour­dates on­cia­ranlav­ery­mu­sic.com

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