Confused? You will be, but probably not as confused as Conor Oberst appears to be on the basis of the latest Bright Eyes offering “The People’s Key”. The album, released this week, probably has the most commercial and accessible mainstream sound Oberst has created to date coupled with lyrical content which is often irritatingly obtuse.

On first listen, “The People’s Key” impresses on a musical level; there are melodies which are instantly accessible and loads of instrumental hooks and riffs to pull you in to the arrangements. The vocals display Oberst’s voice at its best, emphasising the plaintive, keening qualities to good effect especially when it’s pushed to the point of cracking. Even when the voice is thickened up by overlaying it with a slight delay, the effect works and the production wrings out the maximum emotional effect from the vocal line. Read more

I was genuinely shocked to hear of the death of Gary Moore this weekend. In the alternative universe that rock musicians inhabit, you get used to hearing about sudden deaths which are related to the rock lifestyle. In the case of Gary Moore’s old friend and mentor, Phil Lynott, you didn’t need any special powers of perception to see what was coming. Gary Moore never seemed to be one of that breed; no stories of TVs out of hotel windows or wild aftershow partying seem to have affected his reputation.

He was born in Belfast in 1952 and started to play at the age of eight, playing semi-professionally by the age of 16 in Dublin. At this time he began his long-term friendship and professional relationship with Phil Lynott who sang with Moore’s band Skid Row before their first record deal was signed. For most of the 70s, his career was dominated by the Thin Lizzy guitarists’ revolving door. He replaced Eric Bell in the original line-up and twice replaced Brian Robertson in the late 70s as well as making guest appearances (for example, on the original studio version of “Still in Love With You”). The classic Thin Lizzy twin guitar line-up worked best visually with a pretty boy on one side of the stage and a street fighter on the other. Read more