The bath clique (1)
Out of reach
The bath clique,
Thank God,
Out of reach
The women have skins of peach (2)
They're making my bad dreams over
The bath clique is out of reach
Making my bad dreams over
Stretches outside 
Stretches outside 
Extension magnifique
On a beach
On a beach
And a street
James Murphy is their chief (3)
They show their bollocks when they eat
Commercial rate awaits
For those who join clique
And make their pledge (4)
And put their material 
In the ...
Awaits for you, awaits for all
Join clique
Make the pledge
Within reach
Within reach
Within reach
Bath clique in our reach
Stretching outside
Bath clique out of reach
Stretches outside
On a beach
In a street
J. Murphy is their chief
A founder awaits
For me, for all
Who make a pledge
To join
Who join clique
Bath clique awaits 

And make their pledge
And make their pledge
Bath clique
And make their pledge
Bath clique


1. Phonetically, this seems to work. Semantically, I have very little insight here. "Bath clique," in any case, is the central phrase in this song, and it may not be "bath clique," which puts me in an unfortunate position. In several works of Irish mythology, Magog, the son of Japheth and grandson of Noah, is said to be the ancestor of the Irish, and according to traditional Irish genealogies Magog had a son named Bath, Baath, or Bathath (as well as another named Jobbath). The Irish people are said to be descended from Magog's four sons, so MES, who delights in obscure and fanciful history, could possibly have Bath/Baath/Bathath in mind with these lines, which would then just be an obscure way to refer to the Irish. This explanation seems more likely than one that has MES referring to Irish Spring bath soap, and somewhat less likely than the prediction that next July 7th will be the seventh day of July. Make of it what you will, at the moment it's all I've got.

Harley R makes the helpful suggestion below that all this talk of pledges might refer to "crowdsourcing" funds for music, which MES seems to have encountered when he contributed to Mutation, a kind of metal/grindcore supergroup album with members of Napalm Death, Hawkeyes, Cardiacs and Young Legionnaire (if you've never heard of some of these, then mentally amend "super" to "slightly above average"). Danny mentions Kickstarter, which is a program that enables people to solicit money for their projects over the internet.


2. Or "stills of peach," or "steals a peach," or "stills of each," "skills of peach," skills of each," or something else. Here I just went with my ears, as the context really doesn't make any of these options more likely than any other.


3. James Murphy is the frontman from LCD Soundsystem, an "alternative dance" band (this is a genuine genre name, not merely a description) which disbanded in 2011. MES in an interview with Vulture

In the song “Irish,” you say “James Murphy is their chief, they show their bollocks when they eat.” Is this the Murphy from LCD Soundsystem or an Irish everyman James Murphy?
Ha-ha. What do you think? Are you a big fan of his? I had to make up some lyrics quick for that one.

Perhaps if we were less hardy souls we'd take this glimpse into Smith's songwriting process as an excuse to strain ourselves a bit less trying to understand the lyrics, but such is not our way. MES has an arguably churlish habit of insulting musicians whom he has influenced (Pavement and Sonic Youth are favorite targets); Murphy has said "The Fall are my Beatles" so it must be admitted he was positively asking for it. The band, and their singer, however, don't seem particularly objectionable to me; it's the sort of thing one might leave on the radio, I think. Part of the problem with such things is that nobody can really "do" MES without sounding watered-down, but maybe this remark shows my bias in this regard: in any case, to see what I mean, check this out: a song called "Losing My Edge," which sounds a little like what you'd expect to get if you zapped "Totally Wired" with a wimp ray.


4. Well I guess they're pledging their souls to James Murphy. On the other hand, the aptly named J. Temperance points out that "In Ireland 'the Pledge' is a vow young Catholics take after their confirmation to abstain from alcohol until age 18." To those who insist that this is a lie, I implore you--check Wikipedia, it's all there!


More Information

Comments (15)

  • 1. rik | 12/06/2013
its "skins of peach"
  • 2. bzfgt | 15/06/2013
I went with it, rik, I think that is the most likely upon re-listening.
  • 3. Brendan | 07/08/2013
"The Fall are my Beatles"... I think Cheif James Murphy got off far too lightly in this song.
  • 4. harleyr | 19/12/2013
In part 2 of the British Masters Xmas Special interview (, Smith talks about 'Ginger's pledge' in connection with the Mutations project. See Perhaps Irish is about crowdfunding.
  • 5. dannyno | 27/12/2013
I'm seeing this song as referring quite a bit to "kickstarter" and so on.
  • 6. Zack | 02/08/2015
If you really want to hear James Murphy rip off The Fall, listen to his song "Movement". "I'm tapped-ah"? Come on, that "Telephone Thing"!
  • 7. rik | 21/09/2015
James Murphy is their chief (3)
They show their bollocks when they eat.....

this is big time pre cog...James Murphy recently opened a wine bar/ restaurant in Brooklyn NYC
  • 8. bzfgt | 15/11/2015
He's probably been eating for years,, if it said "James Murphy is their chef, we'd be on to something. For now, the Amazing Randi can keep his dough...
  • 9. microplastering | 05/03/2018
re: 3.

Maybe MES was referring to a different James Murphy. James Murphy was an important 19th c figure in the history of Cork Distilleries Co (which in the 20th c merged with Powers and Jameson to form Irish Distillers).

From Wiki:
"At the time, Cork was home to several distilleries, therefore, in the 1860s, James Murphy (head of the company, and son of the founder), suggested amalgamating the operations of several local distilleries. The other distilleries agreed, so in 1867, Cork Distilleries Company (CDC) was formed, with Murphy at the helm. In 1867, CDC took control of four Cork distilleries: North Mall, The Green, Watercourse and Daly's, and a year later Midleton Distillery joined the fold."
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 17/03/2018
Could be but hasn't he basically acknowledged this is about LED guy? Although that's not necessarily decisive anyway....
J. Temperance
  • 11. J. Temperance | 03/09/2019
In Ireland the 'Pledge' is a vow young Catholics take after their confirmation to abstain from alcohol until age 18.
  • 12. SeanStepSideways | 31/03/2020
'They show their bollocks when they eat.....' not sure if it refers directly to LCD Soundsystem - but definitely consistent with 15th/16th century accounts of visitors to Ireland if ever they were invited to eat (and not to be eaten) - we didn't exactly have Anglo-Saxon table manners. I think there's even an engraving somewhere to illustrate this practice. Fuggin hell - did he not half go in for detail
Brian McClean
  • 13. Brian McClean | 03/03/2023
Spot on about the pledge, and we used to only show our bollox to our English guests
  • 14. Ben | 30/06/2023
Bath clique may be a reference to Baile Átha Cliath, which is an Irish name for Dublin
For the record
  • 15. For the record | 13/07/2023
"They're making my bad dreams over" sounds more like "they meet in my bad dreams, oh" to me, both times

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