Home Read Classic Album Review: Clann Zú | Rua

Classic Album Review: Clann Zú | Rua

The international avant-garde outfit defy categorization on their exceptional debut.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


It sounds like the setup to a very lame joke: Whaddaya get when you combine five avant-garde Australian musicians, one socially conscious Irishman, some Celtic instruments and a Canadian indie-punk label?

The answer, however, is no laughing matter: It’s Clann Zú’s Rua, one of the most fascinating and exceptional discs released this year by Winnipeg’s G7 Welcoming Committee. This eclectic 10-track affair is about as far as you can get from typical punk rock — which is not to suggest that it can be labelled Celtic-rock, Australian pop, or even world music, for that matter. Truth is, with their majestic mish-mash of musical styles and sounds — funky drumbeats and trip-hoppy grooves, kitchen-party violins delivered with classical stateliness, Celtic melodies played on acoustic guitars, dusty electronica textures, arrangements filtred through a hip-hop aesthetic, and vocals that combine the keening laments of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with the throaty melancholy of Richard Thompson — it’s obvious Clann Zú don’t fit into any category but their own. And if you ignore them, well, the joke’s on you.