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159) Fatima Mansions - Valhalla Avenue

Cathal Coughlan had earned praise, but sadly not sales with Sean O’Hagan in their band Microdisney but they decided to go their separate ways in 1988.


Cathal wasted no time in forming Fatima Mansions who over seven years released five albums to again sadly rave reviews but again few sales. (they did make the UK top 10 as the double A Side with Manics Suicide is Painless. Their cover of Bryan Adams Everything I Do, give it a go, and trust me Cathal and the boys walk all over Brian.)


The thing with Cathal is he had an extraordinarily strong wonderful voice but now without O’Hagan’s melodies he was able to go off the deep end, the music was much more aggressive and industrial which his new band were more than happy to embrace. Sister Mary on guitar and Duke on keyboards are more than worthy of a mention.


The singles Evil Man and 1000% are full on and marvellous with Cathal shouting and singing as the mood takes him, interesting samples in the background. The choruses to both are simply magic.


Something Bad is a stomper and Valhalla Avenue builds slowly and has a keyboard riff that draws you in and then the drums go off.


North Atlantic Wind is powerful, Cathal dominating before wigging out for a minute before becoming more desperate, see also Perfumes of Paradise.


Go Home Bible Mick hits hard and Greyhair is movingly slow on verse and manic on chorus.


C^7/Breakfast with Bandog is two minutes of noise with Cathal ranting before the last minute and a half where his voice is as clear as a bell with minimal backing, a devilish mind.


Rae Of Hope, Hoe Of Rape opens with piano and a soaring voice and then the manic shout of “Save Us” appears, intense and magical all in one.


The album ends with Be Dead on a more hardcore sampling that Big Audio Dynamite had been doing, it’s a strange end. However, that’s a side issue to a wonderful intense listen. As said in the Microdisney review Cathal sadly died  in 2022, what a terrible loss.





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