The Melancholy Thug: A Trip to the Sewers of Paris review – Crafty and deep

Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 09:00


A Trip to the Sewers of Paris

The Melancholy Thug

Convent Records


It takes time to sort out the wheat from the chaff in your life, and then, with a mix of received wisdom, logic and luck (and more besides), to prioritise what’s important and what isn’t.

Irish musician Neil Farrell, in his guise as The Melancholy Thug, has come to the point when process has given way to action, and with his long-delayed debut solo album has delivered a suite of songs that reference the stuff life throws at you.

That Farrell – once a member of erratic Galway indie band Toasted Heretic, as well as a crafty musician inevitably gazumped by lead singer Julian Gough’s scattershot wit – has single-handedly come up with songs of real depth, both lyrically and musically, is not surprising: Gough may have had the impertinent front-of-stage lip, but Farrell’s behind-the-scenes production skills clearly set the tone for future work.

In keeping with the moniker there is an underlying pensiveness here, but it matters little because the songs are so well crafted, stylish and measured.

Think The The’s Matt Johnson cruising along the Blue Nile, wisps of Babybird and Bowie, and a life well and truly lived.