The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jimi Cullen - When The Last Leaf Falls

Jimi Cullen, Wexford's self-proclaimed 'political folk grunge' singer-songwriter activist, is here to make a difference. I picked up a copy of his album 'When The Last Leaf Falls' at one of his gigs recently. So, how does the material fare?

"When the last leaf falls, stained by nuclear waste, it will land behind scorched walls, walls of lies and hate. Walls first created in our central heated homes, walls of injustice, hate and cruelty that our politicians built with racism and crimes against humanity. Beyond our great cities of battered families and violence lay the rising deep blue seas slowly washing away the blood stained debris of our failed society. We raped the planet's nutrients to whore away her beauty. Men in power pretend its all ok, letting oil and waging wars, forgetting one day we must pay. So when the skies are scorched and war no longer pays, our planet like a tree will dry up and fade away. Then our powerful leaders will retreat behind their walls, but who will save our children when the last leaf falls?"

An intro which is spoken in the voice of school children about the future of our environment in a near prayer-like manner sets the tone of the album with a rather sobering message, before launching into a Dylan-esqe stormer in The Poverty Song. One delivered in style not far from that of Subterranean Homesick Blues, it is perhaps the highlight of the album. A stirring song which touches on themes of refugees, wars, famine, poverty, human rights and of "fear and paranoia spreading like a disease", it comes as a call for change. Delivered with the simple message "we gotta help see each other through it all" or "get up off your ass and do some good", Jimi Cullen doesn't tend to mince his words and makes sure his point is taken.

Elsewhere, themes run from the heartbreak of abusive relationships in Get Out While You Can, through to another war protest song in G&T On the Rocks, while For Your Smile steps into the more generic singer-songwriter territory of the love song, and stands out as one of the more commercially viable tracks on the album. A few blues-folk songs of varying merit add some much needed variety. The most notable of these is perhaps the harmonica infused Talkin' Religion Blues, which again brushes with Dylan, albeit delivered in quite a light hearted manner. With influences taking in Young, Dylan, Drake, Christy Moore, Byrne, Blake, and even The Beatles, this is an album which will be accessible to most listeners, although all in all is perhaps just that little bit too accessible for these ears. 6/10.

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