Guido Biondi writes in Italian national newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano:
“The former Virgin Prunes,” says my editor. (Thank you.) Known above all for the excellent work on the soundtrack of “In the name of the father”, Friday wins thanks to his voice, similar to that of his friend Bono, and by the sound of Ken Thomas, producer of Sigur Ros. The ethereal “Epilogue” is excellent, while “A Song That Hurts” is moving.”
A 3 out of 4 star review from Humo, a popular Belgian weekly.
‘catholic’ ends, fittingly, with the only overtly ‘catholic’ song: ‘Lord, I’m comin”, a reverie on mortality wrapped in a mix between torch song and hymn. Although you could interpret that ‘Lord, I’m comin’, Lord, I’m comin’ in a totally different way, of course.
Brett Warner writes:
Gavin Friday and new right-hand man Herbie Macken have crafted a consistently elegant, intricately arranged, and stunningly beautiful album well worth the long wait. Often threatening to melt your heart, catholic is a continually rewarding piece of work—a towering achievement of classical grandiosity and modern elusiveness. Leave it up to a sly, mildly-reclusive Irishman to deliver one of 2011’s unexpected master works.
Read the full review at Ology.com
Able is track of the day on Q’s website:
You’d be forgiven for expecting something more morose from famed Dublin troubadour Gavin Friday. After all, adorning the cover of his new album Catholic is the rather sombre image of the man himself lying dead, with an Irish flag and crucifix mounting his corpse. But Able, the album’s opening salvo, is an elated blast of stadium-bating synth-rock that is more uplifting than elegiac. Writhing in the song’s spiralling keyboard sounds and gently chiming guitars, Friday purrs in his inimitable style about love, loss and letting go.
It’s a welcome return for the Irish impresario, who has spent the previous sixteen years dabbling in the world of film and theatre while enduring illness, a marriage breakdown and the death of his father. Buoyed by a pulsating bass line and Friday’s gruff half-spoken vocals, the song simmers and boils into a rousing frenzy of poeticism and rock panache, like U2 imbibing the introspective talents of Leonard Cohen. In short, it’s a captivating listen from a distinguished performer. Welcome back, Gavin.
From: Mucchio – Italy:
“The electro-acoustic orchestrations and evocative landscapes reference the 80’s, but not in a trivial way. The electronics are never too pushy and with the warm voice of the lord of the manor, these are the ingredients of a high-class work, both classical and modern at the same time.”
Dutch music magazine “Lust for Life” reviews ‘catholic’ and gives it four stars: “Leonard Cohen’s echo is never far away…”
Mojo’s Martin Aston writes: “… torchy, mirror-ball beauty. These are his silkiest arrangements yet, but shadowy undercurrents ensure the tension never lets up.”
Uncut’s Stephen Trousse’s only reference point seems to be U2, but that’s alright since he writes: “Friday shamelessly rekindles the Eno/Lanois unforgettable shimmer, croons against the dying of the light, and somehow emerges defiantly alive.”
The Sunday Independent’s review of ‘catholic’ is more anecdotal than the average review. Still, ‘madly potent’, we can live with that.