CATHAL COUGHLAN, the devilish genius behind such acts as Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions, has always been a joyous thorn in the side of Irish alternative music; erudite, scathing, never afraid to tread his own, rockier path.

He’s been away a decade – how did that happen? – yep, the last missive from Cathal-land was 2010’s Rancho Tetrahedron, in conspiracy with The Grand Necropolitan Quartet.

But he’s back, that quartet still happy to bring his musical plans to fruition alongside him; he’s got a new label, the better to vend his vision, in Dimple Discs; a new persona to write songs from within, as debuted on this tune, “Song of Co-Aklan”, with an album of the same name to follow in short order.

Hell, he’s even pulled in another acerbic observer of the world of music, no less than The Auteurs’ and Black Box Recorder’s Luke Haines, for this track. You can watch the video below.

And of course he still has that way with a gliding, chiming guitar melody, cut through with lyricism to light up the old cranium: the chorus declaring “Raise your hands if you don’t know what this means”.

He also ponders the condition of the musician in this streaming-services age, grievous royalties and all, pilloried and part-redundant: “Why are the musicians now housed in cellars and box rooms? Where are their sound-stages and yachts? Do they not seem like exiles from times past, perhaps putting up overnight as they seek to outrun the vengeance of the common people, those noble citizens of somewhere pretty awful?”

You just know you have to hear where the tale of Co-Aklan is gonna lead us.

“Song of Co-Aklan” will be available on all streaming services from Friday, January 8th.

Follow Cathal at his website, on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram.