Originally published in The Irish Times, May 13th 2011
HOW DO you define a ‘modern classic’? The criteria for such an accolade is so wide-ranging and subjective that it’s rare for records to be conferred with such an esteemed label.
Jonathan Donahue certainly doesn’t have the answer, but that won’t stop the mild-mannered Mercury Rev man from enjoying his moment in the spotlight. Earlier this year, the band were approached by the organisers of ATP’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ concert series to recreate their 1998 album ‘Deserter’s Songs’ live in its entirety. Previous albums deemed ‘seminal’ enough to have been given the same treatment over the past six years include John Martyn’s ‘Solid Air’, Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions…’ and Slint’s ‘Spiderland’.