Fatima Mansion

Arguably the most underrated of all of the early 90s rock acts, Fatima Mansions were a refreshing kick up the backside against corporate mediocrity and musical banality - steered from start to finish by the singular vision of one man's astute and unwavering misanthropy. In a state of disillusionment, Cathal Coughlan walked out of the wonderful and melodically rich - but lyrically barbed - Microdisney and formed the Fatima Mansions, setting up stall in 1989. His former Microdisney partner, Sean O'Hagan, went off to form the High Llamas and perfected his obsession with 'Smile'-era Beach Boys drenched tunefulness but Cathal had other ideas and there were times when the Mansions' screaming indignation and eclectic belligerence went off the scale. Underneath it all was his dry and off-centre humour that many may have missed in highlights like the viciously compulsive rant 'n' roll epic 'Blues for Ceausescu' and the truly schizoid 'Angels Delight'. ...show more

Arguably the most underrated of all of the early 90s rock acts, Fatima Mansions were a refreshing kick up the backside against corporate mediocrity and musical banality - steered from start to finish by the singular vision of one man's astute and unwavering misanthropy. In a state of disillusionment, Cathal Coughlan walked out of the wonderful and melodically rich - but lyrically barbed - Microdisney and formed the Fatima Mansions, setting up stall in 1989. His former Microdisney partner, Sean O'Hagan, went off to form the High Llamas and perfected his obsession with 'Smile'-era Beach Boys drenched tunefulness but Cathal had other ideas and there were times when the Mansions' screaming indignation and eclectic belligerence went off the scale. Underneath it all was his dry and off-centre humour that many may have missed in highlights like the viciously compulsive rant 'n' roll epic 'Blues for Ceausescu' and the truly schizoid 'Angels Delight'.

Other tracks veered in all kinds of unpredictable directions and styles - savage electronics, pure dance pop, soaring balladry, scabrous industrial noise, acoustic grandeur, hellish Wagner-esque vaudeville, crazed psychobilly, traditional folk, etc... The Fatima Mansions at their mightiest were an incredible tour de force that simply refused to be pigeonholed! Indeed, very few bands at the time were in quite the same league. Aided and abetted by a chillingly intense group of musicicans including Andreas O'Gruama, Nick Allum, Nick Bagnall, and Hugh Bunker, the Mansions captivated, thrilled, provoked and confounded through 3 full albums and a couple of mini albums. Their live gigs were often equally cathartic rituals which met with critical approval and rave reviews.

They even scored an unlikely hit [on the back of the Manic Street Preachers' cover of the Theme From M*A*S*H] with their irreverently skewed take on Bryan Adam's eternal number 1 hit Everything I Do (I Do It For You). Since their demise in 1995/6, Coughlan has been recording and performing solo and, with a much more acoustic and controlled sound allied to his ever caustic lyrics and fantastic voice, remains a true one-off. He is still awaiting a more widespread critical appraisal and overdue recognition that his rare talent truly deserves.. ...show less