SINÉAD GLEESON CD Choice: This week's CD of the week is Ritual from Jape
If the title of Richie Egan's hugely anticipated third album suggests order and routine, his last couple of years have been anything but. Having had many interested labels snapping at his heels, he finally plumped for V2, only for it to be bought by Universal. In stepped Co-Op, V2's independent wing. Now, after what seems like a chaotic age, these 10 tracks finally receive a collective airing.
The first thing you notice is that Egan has once again moved the musical goalposts, defying what people might have been expecting of him. Since 2003's Cosmosphere , Jape has consistently taken chances with his art, inverting all the stereotypes of what one man and his guitar can do. In this case, he piles up layers of electronic glitches and sampled detours, creating a melting pot of styles and tempos. If The Monkeys in the Zoo . . . hinted at his electronic obsessions, here they're fully realised. Ritual is bookended by more measured tracks ( Christopher and Anthony and the sublime, spacey Nothing Lasts Forever ), but in between you can't miss the increased BPM. The party tracks - the sharp, sullen I Was a Man , the electro strut of Streetwise - bubble away with a danceable fizz. But then Egan has always been one to gear up and down effortlessly between songs that make you dance and ones that make you think. He can be bardic one minute and bawdy the next - and that's without an uncanny ability to inject seriousness into the most anodyne subjects.
Egan is a natural storyteller, demonstrated by the album highlight, Phil Lynott . In it he weaves together a tale of a Mastodon gig, a lunar eclipse and the realisation that one day - like Phil - he will be "a dead man who played the bass from Crumlin". Artists don't come more innovative than Jape, and Ritual proves that in Irish music, he's definitely in a league of his own. www.myspace.com/richiejape
Download tracks:I Was a Man, Phil Lynott, Streetwise