The Fatima Mansions – Bertie’s Brochures (Kitchenware, 1991)

The Fatima Mansions
Bertie’s Brochures

CD Kitchenware Records KWCD 16 (UK, 1991)

01. Behind the Moon
02. Bertie’s Brochures
03. Shiny Happy People
04. V.N. (Apology)
05. Mario Vargas Yoni
06. Smiling
07. Long About Now
08. The Great Valerio

You want to hear the definitive version of « Shiny Happy People » complete with ‘Go F*ck Yourself’s and references to masturbation, the Zebrugge ferry disaster and repressed gay MPs ?? ….this is where it’s at.
Also a wonderful song called ‘Behind the Moon’, the scabrous title track, two other fairly straight covers – Scott Walker & Richard Thompson – and an attack on Mario Vargas Llosa…. What more do you want?
(Kardelgado, Rate Your Music)

The Fatima Mansions were an art rock group formed in 1988 by Cork singer/keyboardist Cathal Coughlan, formerly of Microdisney. They took their name from a downmarket housing estate, in Rialto, Dublin where John Roberts lived.
The Fatima Mansions had some indie chart success with albums such as Viva Dead Ponies, Bertie’s Brochures, Valhalla Avenue and Lost in the Former West.
They technically entered the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart in 1992, with a heavily reworked version of Bryan Adams’ song « (Everything I Do) I Do It for You », taken from an NME tribute album in aid of the charity, the Spastics Society. However, although this single was technically a double A-side, the flip-track, Manic Street Preachers’ version of « Suicide Is Painless » received most of the radio airplay and is by far the better-known track. They also gained mainstream exposure by opening a European leg of U2’s Zoo TV Tour in 1992, although they were nearly booed off the stage and almost started a riot when front man Coughlan swore at a Milan audience and insulted the Pope. The band often courted controversy with religion, dictators, empires and general authority being targets for Coughlan’s vitriol. Despite this, The Guardian newspaper described him as « the most underrated lyricist in pop today », and DJ John Peel said he could « listen to Cathal Coughlan sing the phone book ».

Une superbe ballade en ouverture, deux reprises crève-coeur en fin de parcours (Scott Walker et Richard Thompson)… et un piétinage de gueule en règle de Shiny Happy People. Elle est gentille, pourtant, cette chanson de R.E.M., mais sur toutes les radios à longueur de journée quand on est d’humeur ni happy ni shiny ça peut légitimement taper sur les nerfs.

Visit Cathal Coughlan

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