Cathal Coughlan, the frontman of the famed indie bands Fatima Mansions and Microdisney, passed away at the age of 61. He “slipped away gently in hospital after a protracted illness,” according to his relatives.
Coughlan, who was born in Cork and created Microdisney with guitarist Sean O’Hagan in 1980, moved to London in 1983.
Playing a mix of smooth and jangly indie-pop, they only had a fleeting taste of national success when their single Town to Town came close to reaching the UK Top 40, but they quickly gained a following in the UK and Ireland indie scenes, recording multiple sessions for John Peel.
After Microdisney disbanded in 1988, Coughlan formed Fatima Mansions, which branched out into anything from furious punk-influenced rock to Europop and romantic balladry, with Coughlan’s dramatic, full-throated delivery earning him praise.
He later described his perspective as “an outlaw mentality” during the time. The experience of being in a band that was going well and then crashing out was unpleasant, and I was living on a whirlwind of beer and caffeine.
” For a leg of U2’s Zoo TV tour in 1992, the band had a surprising Top 10 hit with an unsettling trip-hop cover of Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do It for You (on a double A-side single with Manic Street Preachers’ cover of the MASH theme).
Musician Luke Haines, who worked with Coughlan on the high-concept project The North Sea Scrolls, was among others who paid tribute.
“I’m at a loss for words right now.” “Really just sadness and rage,” Haines tweeted.
“His excellent tunes survive,” wrote Tim Burgess of the Charlatans. Remember him by playing them loud.”