Into Paradise and Blue in Heaven

Sometimes music has to take a long and winding road before it reaches us. I am listening down that road today, starting at an album called Under The Water by the Irish indie band Into Paradise. Unfortunately, Into Paradise didn’t float them above the water. The next release for the band was Churchtown, and it managed to make some ripples in the press, and it was more commercially successful for the band. I have to admit that Churchtown  was more appealing to me than Under The Water, but they were both excellent listens. Churchtown has the ethos of that era, which is good because they have cited that Joy Division was an influence for them. Also mentioned were Echo & the Bunnymen as another of their influencers. That makes some pretty good pedigree to start a band.

Now that we know more about the band Into Paradise, we can move on to the next round on my listening list today. Blue in Heaven was an Irish musical adventure active in the 80s. They burst out of Ireland with other outfits of that era such as Simple MindsU2 and the Waterboys. They released two full-length albums on Island Records: All the Gods Men (1985) and Explicit Material (1986). They also released several singles and EPs. Last FM has their catalogue for your listening pleasure. I enjoyed listening to their music, and although it has been 35 or so years since these bands were active, the music still sounds fresh to me. I am a magnet for anything post-punk/new wave, so both Into Paradise and Blue in Heaven resonate with me, good music from both bands.

We now transition to why I spent a fair chunk of time talking to you about these two particular bands. David Long was the face of the 1980s band Into Paradise, and Shane O’Neill was front and center in the band Blue In Heaven, and these two gentlemen have gotten together and collaborated on some new material. That is news worth talking about.

Hailing from the same part of Dublin, Long and O’Neill had known each other since they were 6 or 7. They started their musical lives with a trio called amuse that featured David Long on bass and vocals, Shane on guitar, and Dave Clarke (Warren Zevon, now Hothouse Flowers) on drums. After splitting and doing their separate thing, around 1996, they recorded an album as an outfit called Supernaut.

With my penchant for post-punk/new wave, their new songs hit me like a flying mallet. At the start of the first song on this EP, the jangling guitar sent electricity bursting through my whole body. My oh my, this is the start of a good thing—three good things to be accurate. Far From HomeShake Me, I’m Magic and Hand Of Love.The bass line in Shake Me, I’m Magic is incredible. I won’t type out all the lyrics, but there is one line from the song Far From Home that spoke loud and clear to me,

Sometimes hard to remember all I’ve seen,

Sometimes feels like a dream

I’m not a young man any longer, and sometimes it is hard to remember all I’ve seen and sometimes it can feel like walking through a dream where the line that separates reality from the dream fuzzy and shifting back and forth.

“We wanted to make an album that could and should be listened to all the way through. It was an equal collaboration. Shane and myself have known each other so long that there was never a problem editing each other if something didn’t fit with the song. We had no time restrictions, or release dates to go by, so we took our time with this album and thought about every aspect of it, song titles, running order, album cover, album name, and what songs to leave on and leave off. The instrumentals are very important to the album’s story.,” says Dave Long.

“We were always the kind of musicians who couldn’t play other people’s songs properly, barely able to play some of our own songs. We’ve always loved music but didn’t always get some of the community surrounding it. I was trying to use my memories of working with Hannett to help create atmospherics and space behind the guitars and drums (he used to stop the tape and joke it was mixed if the echo was interesting). Dave wanted an early style of guitar I used to play, less bar chords, more angular ringing notes,” says Shane O’Neill.

As of July 16, the ‘Far From Home‘ maxi-single will be available across online platforms such as SpotifyApple Music and Bandcamp. The ‘Moll & Zeis’ album will be released everywhere digitally in September.

Keep up with David Long and Shane O’Neill

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