Toss the Feathers,
Rude Awakening
(Magnetic, 1993)

Toss the Feathers is a fabulous name for a very energetic band. They claim to "take Irish music to the extreme," then live up to the boast by using the tradition as a base for self-penned numbers on contemporary themes.

"Sunset" is an upbeat song that is basically about life in all its glorious reality. We work, we raise families, they work and they raise families. "Lonely Man" by Eddie Sheehan has that unique combination of feeling as if it has been around forever but tells a tale we can relate to in 2002, a story of lost love and its effect. The imagery is very well drawn by the phrases about love being as close as a hand in a glove but "when the glove is left behind the hand grows cold."

"Heritage" builds an image of the past but is followed immediately by a tale of today that is like a modern headline. The title of "Requiem for the Innocent" and the piano intro set a scene that brings us from our "glorious" past to our gritty present. This is the sort of song that Christy Moore could have brought to the top of the charts and as I listen, I wish he or someone else would -- and soon. "They found you in a lane / you can't have been more than sweet 16 / cider bottles and dirty needle marks upon your arm" tell it like it is in modern Ireland. Her father "up in court next week for pushing pushers out but he never broke the law" is an indictment of our values. This is a top class song by Eamon Cowan that needs to be heard.

"Drifting Apart" is from the same pen and tells of lovers drifting apart. The intriguing lines "You gave it all to climb the social ladder but when you fall I will catch you with my art" give a clue to the story. Anyone who has loved in a turbulent relationship will relate to the lovely song titled "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde." "Long Forgotten Line" is one of the most lyrical songs on this CD with some very poetic writing and nice vocal backing.

This album is one of those that appear to have slipped through the net when first released. Toss the Feathers is like a more refined version of the Pogues. They have upbeat but not manic music and, most important, they write and perform songs that matter. The love songs are personal and touching but the social conscience in some of these tracks deserves recognition and praise. Come on some radio station give them a chance to influence the many people out there thirsting for good music, real lyrics and a message.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 21 December 2002