Autre Monde & guest Laurie Shaw
Autre Monde are Paddy Hanna (vocals, keyboards), Padraig Cooney (bass, synth, vocals), Mark Chester (guitar) and Eoghan O’Brien (drums, keyboards, backing vocals). They met through their involvement together in a network of Dublin bands that at one stage or another were central to the Popical Island collective (Skelocrats, Grand Pocket Orchestra, Ginnels, No Monster Club, Land Lovers, the Paddy Hanna band).
They quickly gained attention for their early singles and stirring live performances, with The Thin Air insisting they were “one of the very best bands in the country” and listing Village of Loomers at 6th on their Best Irish Tracks of 2017 list. The Irish Times noted that Autre Monde were at that time “mining Television, ESG, Suicide and the The Slits”, and that’s about right. A murky, exploratory self-titled EP followed before the band set out to make The Imaginary Museum in summer 2018. They signed to Strange Brew Records in 2019 in time to release the first fruits of those sessions, Fever in May (“impossible to resist” - redbull.com Best Irish Songs of 2019) and On the Record (“a bright delight of a song” - Nialler9.com Best Irish Songs of 2019). After the band appeared at Electric Picnic, Ireland Music Week and Other Voices, Fever in May was used in an Audi car ad in late 2019 before the album was released to rave reviews in the spring of 2020:
"Sophisticated, slick and thrillingly weird pop" - The Irish Times
"exhilarating debut... a textured, joyful record" - The Sunday Times
"menacing groove and sinister synths" - FLOOD
"Subtle guitar solos, sleazy late-night synths and hushed vocals" - Nialler9
"dark and menacing, but also delightfully groovy" - Hot Press
"It's pop, but not as we know it" - The Last Mixed Tape
They were invited to play at the 2020 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas as part of the Music from Ireland showcase alongside the likes of Pillow Queens and the Murder Capital, but days before the event, global events took their course and it was cancelled, along with the rest of the band’s touring plans in support of The Imaginary Museum. It was the ordinary flow of life (3 of the 4 members became first-time fathers in 2021/22) that subsequently delayed Autre Monde’s return to full-time activity, but they did accompany the mighty Melts on a couple of late-2022 shows before selling-out hometown headliners in March of this year to mark the release of Don’t Have Brain, the first single taken from Sensitive Assignments. Nialler9 called it "a weird little song - a delight" while Kieran McGuinness on Nova Guestlist deemed it "quirky and very soulful".
Autre Monde have announced the release of their second album, Sensitive Assignments. It has been preceded by the singles, Don’t Have Brain and Sensitive Assignment, Parts 1-4 and on 18th August by a third taster - Strictly Come Dancing. The album will be available on 12” vinyl and online through the usual outlets from 15th September, with pre-orders from Bandcamp beginning on 18th August. To accompany the album release, they will play a number of dates across Ireland in September and October.
LISTEN TO ‘SENSITIVE ASSIGNMENTS’
Sensitive Assignments was developed by the band amid profound life transitions, with three of the four members becoming first-time fathers during its creation. It also arrives in the wake of the disappointment of releasing their well-received debut LP The Imaginary Museum into the abyss of spring 2020, at the outbreak of the pandemic, necessitating them to cancel all touring activity, including their then-imminent appointment at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
A strict ‘no prior ideas’ rule was used to drive the writing process. In short, there are no pre-written songs: all songs emerged from collaborative beginnings in the rehearsal room, focused by a shared vision honed by discussions, making playlists and constantly pulling at threads. In the songs, you might hear echoes of Clinic, Robert Palmer, Michael McDonald, ‘Blue’ Gene Tyranny, Terry Riley, Portishead, 1970s Zamrock cuts, early 2000s hip-hop, Albert Ayler, Can, Devo… maybe even The Beatles at times. Mostly you’ll hear a clear progression from The Imaginary Museum, a more coherent, more confident band enjoying making music together.
Subject-matter ranges from admiration for the assassinated former leader of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara (Pity for Upright Man) to a Franciscan protest song (Here Now, Birdie, Birdie) to the existential and practical adaptation to becoming a family man (Road to Domestos) to a theatrical mini-opera concerning the release of a man from prison (Sensitive Assignment, Parts 1-4).
The album was recorded with longtime collaborator Daniel Fox (Gilla Band) on production and engineering duties at Sonic Studios in Dublin in 2022.
Of lead single Strictly Come Dancing, the band’s Pádraig Cooney says “it is very representative of our writing process for the album, in that it emerged out of a fog of improvisation one day, all hanging around Eoghan’s synth riff. Eventually it took in elements of the electronic tension in Robert Palmer’s Woke Up Laughing, something strangely reminiscent of the Stone Roses in the rhythm and a big yacht rock chorus. The lyrics are inspired by the story of the parents in Anna Burns’ Milkman who abandon their family for a life of full-time ballroom dancing. I thought that was just ripe for a song”.