Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Desert Island Discs - 125: Heaven and Earth by The 4 of Us



Okay so the big countdown begins. 125 of my favourite lps. To remind you of the rules I've set myself


Only 1 lp per artist (although someone can have an entry for their band and as a solo singer) so some favourites will face the chop ...Steve McQueen or Jordan?

No greatest hits so all those singles bands I like Squeeze , The Cure etc. wont make the cut

No live lps (are these any good ever ...really??!)

No soundtracks so my strange Evita / Jesus Christ Superstar / oliver fix will be missing

Got to be all round good - one or two great tracks don't a great lp make - so no for example Visage


125 - Heaven and Earth - The 4 of Us 2004

First up is a whisky lp , ie one that works best at night with a single malt.

The 4 of Us are an Irish band who flirted with UK success (all the band's lps have charted in Ireland)with their debut lp after the track Mary featured heavily on the awful Jonathon King's Entertainment USA tv show.

The lp is largely acoustic but drums , keyboards all provide subtle textures. The cover of rough seas and threatening skies  hides the smooth melodies and calmness within.

The lp opens with Sunlight and is one of the tracks with a fuller sound. The sense of hope and nostalgia is set

" speck of dust
thats us
sitting on a greyhound bus
and we're along way from home"

The track was voted one of the best Irish singles ever in one of those polls that don't really mean much but I love still the same

The mood mellows further but that sense of dislocation continues with the quiet wooziness of the songs built around Brendan Murphy's lived in vocals

Gospel Choir - the 4 of Us

The pace varies slightly but the sparse arrangements always have something going on to hold the attention. The fact that the lp is so understated is one of its key strengths

Only towards the end does the pace pick up again with a track that is the closest to their earlier work and shows they can write a good a pop song as anyone

Breakdown - The 4 of Us

Songs of fractured relationships, stories to be told and one bit of politics thrown in, but vague enough not to preach but to make you feel


We watched a roman candle burn
The day the world refused to turn
Even a chimpanzee can learn
To be a little human

You can buy Heaven and Earth direct from the band's website here  

9 comments:

  1. A band I've never heard of ,but I really like the tracks you've offered up here and I'll be investigating further,
    At no.125 in my list is Lies Damned Lies with their 1996 album 'Lamentations'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVu8WLc721o
    Phil
    Tel Aviv

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  2. Glad you ar eplaying along phil - hopefully this is the first of some new stuff to check out

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  3. Hmmm, never heard of 4 of Us either, sounds good...

    THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS! Random order here? Or for example, will your Top 10 be your 10 most favorite albums?
    I kinda/sorta put a list together, eliminating jazz/classical etc.
    My last hundred a bit random, Top 25 in order hopefully.
    My first 5 er 6...
    #125 - Energy Orchard - Energy Orchard (1990)
    #124 - Then Jerico - First (1987)
    #123 - Raspberries - Starting Over (1974)
    #122 - Reindeer Section - Son Of Evil Reindeer (2002)
    #121 - A Fine Frenzy - One Cell In The Sea (2007)
    #120 - Martin Stephenson - Salutation Road (1990)

    PS: Happy to have you back from your grand adventures. Highlights?

    PS: To Phil: Thanks for reminding of LDL's 'Lamentations'. Been trying to track down the CD for ages. Just had a look and found a copy on Amazon.com here! Wish I could track down their 'After Virtue' album... very Blue Nile-ish:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvx8V7I-Tfk&feature=related

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  4. great Tim

    never heard of a fine frenzy or raspberries so will be checking them out. Son of evil was in teh mix but missed the final cut . The daintees are in but not this one (strangely my least favourite of their lps)

    Top 10 will be near about my fav lps although having only one prefab sprout impacts on the top 20

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  5. Like both the links especially Tim's which I agree is very blue niley

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  6. I had the album with 'Mary' on which I thought was 'ho hum' ok; Heaven and Earth sounds like it might be more up my alley...
    And Tim, I played a few gigs with Energy Orchard way back; great band, their singer Bap Kennedy has just released a nice album produced by Mark Knopfler 'Sailor's Revenge'; it also feature the sublime playing of Jerry Douglas. The great Steve Earle said Bap was "the best singer songwriter I ever saw'... Gladsome, Humour and Blues for me in the Daintee stakes...
    Son of Reindeer a good call also; I prefer Snow Patrol without their leathers on...

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  7. Hi Trev
    like you I bought the lp with Mary on and thought mmmm maybe. The latest Their later stuff is a million miles away ... thankfully

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  8. Ok, I can see that this is going to cost me a pretty penny...

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  9. Call it an education Trev...
    Shall check out the latest Bap record. Lost him when went all honky-tonk...
    TT

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