Ireland - Full Moon 49 - 10/13/00
Lights of the City
The second studio album from 4-piece the Jubilee Allstars is essentially an album
narrating a tale of two cities embodied in the buildings and people of one town. The
romanticism of personal and domestic life is equally cuttingly cynical and uncompromisingly
warm. On one hand the snide lyrics penned by brothers, Barry and Niall McCormack, on
Dublin's increasing spate of attacks on immigrants addressed on Guests of the Nation
and Do You Know What it is, Sir, to Have Nowhere to Go?. Closing track Lights of
the City offers the line summarising their feelings with Barry spitting
"As the well dressed, well paid and well adjusted
/ leave the city I finally leave my bed" lamenting the continuing conurbation of
cosmopolitan 'modern' Dublin. They however contrast this with odes of homage to the 'old city'
on Nighttown celebrating the wit and intelligence of the people who once inhabited their
beloved city "I can't walk out on this dirty town".
The themes are backed with music heavily influenced by the stripped down folk of Woody
Guthrie, the vacuous hammond organ and piano drive of Nick Cave and, although less frequently,
the gentler pop moments of Teenage Fanclub. The latter influence manifesting itself on the
album's opener. The album is capped off with Let Evening Bring them Home, a
foot-tappingly catchy tune of angst and hope.
Beautifully crafted and worded Lights of the City is an accurate depiction of the
changing face of a city. The McCormack's utopian Metropole is fast disappearing, and it an
admirable mantle for the Jubilee Allstars to take on. Ballad writing is alive and, more
Copyright © 2000 Colm Downes