Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs// Gates of Hell
Recommended Track: Hold Me Close
Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs have surpassed their previous work with Gates Of Hell, trading predictable and bland folk rock singles for a more tender approach tinged with real emotion rather than being just another example of CBGB kowtowing à la The Spits. It’s taken a few full length albums for the Iron Lungs to produce some classic tracks, but at their best they sound like a drunk Replacements fronted by Joe Strummer. “Hold Me Close,” the second track on the LP, is actually filled with authentic-sounding joyful exuberance.
The band seems to be enjoying itself quite amply throughout the album, barring some hiccups that tend toward a sort of Elvis Costello simulacrum dripping with even more cheese than the Attractions themselves. They put forward some painfully simple lyrics that even the band seems to get tired of singing halfway through. I’m targeting “Heavy On Queen St.” particularly.
“Calgary Hill” brings to mind a hot summer day in an industrial town in the best way, but you find yourself wanting them to hurry through the verse to get to the chorus. While being an amalgam of disparate parts with not a whole lot going on in the upstairs region, The Iron Lungs get the gears to mesh about half of the time. When they do, the result is some pretty good throwaway summer pop.