Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Not Squares - Yeah Ok

'Oh Yeah' the latest album from Ireland's fastest growing record label Richter Collective sees Belfast trio Not Squares firmly establish themselves as one of, if not the best dance band in the country today. 'Oh Yeah' is a throbbing & intricate stimulation of the senses ambitious, fulfilling and essential as cocaine in the Ryan diet.

A chopper of white noise demands attention as Release The Bees unfurls a raft of old school Out Of Control style Chemical Brothers beats. Following a 'heavenly father' style voiceover the live drums take over and an "oh oh oh" vocal hook chips the lock of our primal senses. A butterfly keyboard riff and a Goosey bass line set up DE NA NA perfectly. Quirky vocals and high grade syncopated funky riffs are jam packed into this 3 minute wonder. While In Front is a strangely pleasing mix of Muse, 8bit squawk box and homoerotic Flawless vamping.

No doubt simple arty types will compare the staccato guitar riffs of Smith & Carlos to (the) Foals and other putrid modernisms. However, it undoubtedly pays homage to originators like Talking Heads. This bouncy track features an excellent catchy 8 bit keyboard line. Quirky anthem Asylum, one of the singles of the year intros with a Cochise style drumbeat. The guitar is rockabilly with QOTSA grit and the main vocal "I wanna live in an Asylum" burrows into your brain and screams "joy." If all this wasn't enough the best is yet to come. It's group therapy time folks, open up and say Aaaaghh!!! Asylum's highlight comes as a wall of voices let out a primal roar of melody, backed by a flock of guitars in unison.

Feel Good Hit of the Summer meets Another Brick in the Wall word play on Don't Do Nothing; its at its best when the bass is doubled. A Stonehenge sub bass intro leads us nicely into Yeah! Not squares have delved into gothic dance on this track, which in large part is a drum expo. Hurray for the distorted bass swagger of stand out track Ojos Para Volar part Gorillaz, part Rapture, 100% indie diso dance floor filler. It's almost enough to make you go out and by decks yourself. On Bi Kan Na sibling to earlier track De Na Na, Not Squares return to up tempo Belgian dance gods Goose influenced throaty key bass.

'Oh Yeah' concludes with the romping 53 led by a snappy snare, dirty funk bass and grinding guitar. 53 picks up pace adding keyboards and extra bass, melding Yeah Yeah Yeahs with The Go Team in the process. A reprise of the excellent bass melody break draws the album to a close.

'Oh yeah' will probably miss the seasonal best of lists due to its end of year release. However, it deserves to place high-up on these lists, such is the level of content within. We expect 2011 to be a breakthrough year for Not Squares.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Quakers on Probation - Every Living Thing

Seattle's Quakers on Probation consist of father and son songwriting team Daniel A. Craig and Daniel F. Craig and studio owner and musician Graig Markel. Benefiting from this unusual creative dynamic, their debut album 'Every Living Thing' is an eclectic collection of Lo-Fi alt country rock. This dynamic allows them to create a believable mix of wisdom and youthful idealism.

Imagine Simon and Garfunkel in their pomp vamping out Like a Rolling Stone and your in the same head-space as opening track Pay it Froward. The track features the organ swirls of legendary Grammy award winning Wrecking Crew member Larry Knechtel (Bread,The Doors, Simon and Garfunkel)

The mid tempo shuffle brushed drums and percussion of Your Favourite Song make for the perfect road trip movie soundtrack. A more traditional country sound of slide and acoustic guitars mixed with some excellent lead guitar make this an early highlight.

Happy-sad, love on the run ballad Sun Country Inn is melody laden with beautiful orchestral style interplay between banjo, piano, slide guitar and electric guitar. While I Know a Woman is a strange concoction of 'White Album' era Beatles and country superstar Neil Diamond. Stabbing pianos are joined by trumpets for the simple but effectic chorus of "I know a woman, I know a woman." This highly radio friendly track has hit single stamped all over it in capital letters.

A track straight from the WJAZ play list, title track Every Living Thing dances between the raindrops like Donald Fagan and Burt Bacharach and the obligatory piano solo does not disappoint. In Yard Sale, Craig examines the success and failures of his life through the contents of a yard sale. But can he really let go of his past and part with his "Elvis tapestry" The concept of this song is more pleasing than the musical content, a slight blip on the road.

Things go back up the gears with Marysville a breezy Eagles meets The Travelling Wilburys style number with a dark twist. The lead guitar is the perfect companion for "The same hotel room in forty different towns" and "drinking up the darkness."

Hollywood Walk of Fame See's 'Every Living Thing' take an unexpected but welcome Lo-Fi detour through Synthtown. The electronic instruments move to the fore and a more modern sound permeates the album from here on in. Keyboard stabs and a repetitive drum machine loop form the heartbeat of Hollywood Walk of Fame; a daydream fantasy about making it big in moving pictures.

The influence of Simon and Garfunkel is replaced by Linkin Park and French pop geniuses Air on G.I. Joes. The lyrics also undergo a modern metamorphosis "There's goes my credit and my girl" and "You can take my things, dont take my G.I. Joes" become repeated intersections where earlier songs would have entered verse 3 or four. Perhaps this less wordy modern approach has yielded the most dividend, for G.I. Joes is the very unexpected highlight of the album.

Lament for the Aging Rocker is a firmly tongue in cheek lambast of Axl Rose and his Rock N' Roll peers. The track bares more than a passing resemblance to California folk-rock revivalists Blind Melon's 1993 hit No Rain most famous for its video featuring "Bee Girl" Heather DeLoach. The vocal resemblance between Craig and the now deceased Shannon Hoon is uncanny on this fun hootenanny.

'Every Living Thing' wont disappoint fans of folk-rock country with the emphasis on choruses and melody, rather than 12 verse soliloquy. The musicianship is equisite throughout, especially on the live drums and lead guitar which really make the album what it is. Craig's voice is authentic from first to last, especially when his native Seattle timbre shines through.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Interpol at The Olympia

Interpol strode onto stage of the Olympia with military precision at exactly 9:30pm. The stage design of industrial piping and massive 30's style spotlights complemented by overwhelming amounts of dry-ice that make it almost impossible to see the band.

Heavily back lit by flashing lights, five silhouettes just manage to protrude the mist. This is a band who definitely want the audience to concentrate on what they are playing rather than what they are wearing.

First song Success one of only 4 songs from Interpol's latest album, slightly underwhelms the expectant crowd. Say Hello To The Angels quickly gets things in gear. Paul Banks voice cuts crisply through the mist, note perfect on every song. The crowd go wild from the very first note of Daniel Kessler's guitar on Narc and are swept along by Length of Love.

Summer Well takes things down a notch, before Rest My Chemistry's guitar riff whips the crowd back into a frenzy. The stage dressing perfectly suits the shoe gazing NYC. This however, is a momentary lull as breakthrough hit Slow Hands hits the moshing switch. cue mass hysteria, which continues through C'mere and Leif Erikson.

Barricade the first single from Interpol's self titled new album, is the best received of the new material so far. Bass driven hit Evil, as with Slow Hands, brings focus upon who is not on stage, rather than who is, but Interpol's former "Mr Cool" Carlos Denglor's replacement David Pajo proves more thank capable of filling the void, on bass at least.

The excellent Not Even Jail, brings the first section of the show to a blistering close. A quick water break later Interpol return to the stage with the epic shoe gazer Untitled. Interpol dismount the evening, heads held high, with hardcore fan favourite PDA ringing in the ears of the audience as they return to the treacherous conditions outside. An evening worth every red cent.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Kowalski - The Workman's Club

Bangor quartet Kowalski take to the stage in The Workingman's Club as temperatures plummet outside. A four count later, they have transported us to bikini clad sunkist sands, with their fabulous bright breezy, yet serious, summer pop.

Straight from the off with This Years Ideas it is clear that Kowalski are individually musically accomplished. They are propelled by the slick snare and high hat combinations of Paddy Baird and pronounced bass groves and dancing of Tom O'Hara. Louis Price's sweet tender voice is a mix of Ben Gibbard & Matthew Caws.
Take Care, Take Flight the title track from current EP is built on more throbbing disco drums and groovy bass licks. "How is your Island in the sun" enquires Price through the chorus underpinned by Paddy Conn's keys and Price's jingle jangle guitar line. Think 'Let Go' era Nada Surf. The track boogies to a close through an extended outro as Tom O'Hara pounds the stage, living every beat.

Fast forward to Navigate November the best song of the night so far, a Jimmy Eat World style "forget me not" Paddy Conn double jobs on keys and guitar to good effect especially on the Lo-Fi breakdowns.
The rhythm section continue to prosper on I.D.O. a jingly Smiths meets Death Cab For Cutie outing. This song also contains elements of cult Indie heroes The Very Most. The bass dances between slash chords and arpeggios as I.D.O. builds an ephemeral soundscape. The vocal harmony between Price and Conn is excellent. There are at least six vocal hooks in the song "Oh no love is not so clever." and "I not follow you." are among the best.

Letters From the Height of Summer (Dear Bird) is an idyllic slice of 60's pop with twin guitar interplay shimmering against one another. Think early Cardigans material; only better, mixed with elements of The Flaming Lips. The main guitar line is very catchy and hummable as is its "Little Girl" refrain. Paddy Baird's unusual drum beat and percussion are the icing on this somehow festive song.

Asleep a beautiful mid tempo escape balled, emerges from a backwards stew of noise. Price's beautifully soft vocals declare "Ghost away and you'll be fine." He also shows excellent range with flashes of falsetto. Asleep makes an unexpected turn into synth pop for the outro. Electric guitars crash as harmony vocals enter, for the sing-along refrain of "Just leave them all behind."

"This is a new song" proclaims Price introducing While We Drive before Tom O'Hara tramples the stage in a trance, showing us his finest moves. While We Drive slowly builds into a crescendo and a drum extravaganza. Perhaps Paddy Baird is Indie synth pops answer to Clem Burke and John Bonham rolled into one.

Forthcoming single Outdoors is a radio friendly mix of wobbly keyboards disco drums and a Cure style siding bass line, with yet more good harmonies. Kowalski end the set with Get Back an excellent dreamy indie disco anthem. The memorable chorus of "Get back to the place that you know" floats on cascading reverb and guitar effects.

Judging by what I've heard this evening Kowalski could be your next favourite band. Definitely one of my top five gigs of the year. I caught up with the band backstage for a quick chat

How did Kowalski Form?
"Kowalski formed in about 2005. Me and Tom were in a typical rebellious heavy metal band, we were about 16. We got sick of it because it was shite and then we decided to make some happy pop music. Then Paddy B joined us on drums shortly after that and we had our old guitarist Dan Brown. He left the band last October..." Says Price.

"He wrote a few books first" I interject to much laughter "basically he got too big for his boots" quips Price to more laughter... " Then Paddy C joined in October and we started a fresh". says Price in his best children's TV presenter voice. "and went to a cottage and wrote some songs that would become the EP that we released."

Where was this Cottage?

Price "It was in Donegal in a place called Dunfanaghy."
O'Hara "It was a cottage up on a hill and you could see the bay and there was this old man called Jimjam who gave us the cottage his name wasn't Jimjam it was James" "but we called him Jimjam" says O'Hara fondly.

Did watching the sunset every night explain how all this California style music happened?

Price "It did yeah. Well I mean, where we live in Bangor. Its a seaside town, I think the seaside and the beach comes into our music, without us even realising it. Minus the glamorous side of things, the babes and the big pimping."

How did the name Kowalski come about?

Price "It comes from a play called Street Car Named Desire there's a film as well" O'Hara cuts in "Marlon Brando plays the character called Stanly Kowalski. I was studying the book at school and we were kind of just sitting around one day trying to find a name and shouted out Kowalski and it stuck." Handing back to Price "and we where like that will do sounds great and we stuck with it. Its an angular word. its kind of bizarre. I think it sums up our music quite well."

I was expecting you to say Primal scream or the movie Vanishing Point.

Price "We get that a lot its more cultural than that though. Kowalski is the equivalent of Smith in Poland as a second name" The band go on to list many appearances of Kowalski in modern pop culture including the "Penguin in Madagascar." O'Hara chips in with "Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino is called Walt Kowalski." Price "There's Kowalski's everywhere, take your pick." O'Hara "We are following in an illustrious line of cultural heroes. Hopefully we can live up to the name."

How does the songwriting process work?

Price "Me and Paddy C usually jam out ideas in my bedroom or whatever little riffs and take it in to the band. I don't write all the songs myself its very communal if we have a little riff or idea on the guitar we bring it into the practice room and spend hours trying to turn it into a song"

Is he really like that or does he think he wrote them, even when he wasn't in the room?

After some awkward laughter O'Hara says "He's quite good about that."

He's generous with the song writing credits?

O'Hara "Oh he's very generous with the song writing credits."

And how does that work is it four ways do you subscribe to the whole one for all musketeer vibe?

"Well you know its sort of like that" says Price cautiously.

We will ask this lonely looking drummer man at the end here a question. Drums who's good who's bad who should give up?

Bemused, Paddy B answers "Buddy Rich he was pretty special he had some amazing snare drum techniques he could do a drum roll with one hand" The rest of the band mockingly say Ooooh.. "that most average drummers would struggle to do with both hands."

"What about the drummer from Def Leopard?" asks a smirking Price "Oh he's pretty special" retorts a deadpan Paddy B "Lars (Ulrich) should probably give up" he continues. The conversation quickly turns to Lars contribution to Metallica rockumetary Some Kind of Monster "Its so funny everybody has to see it." says Price "He asks questions and answers them himself." says O'Hara before doing a fairly decent Lars impression "Do I think this could be a song...Potentially." followed by lots of laughter

So what are the influences for the rest of the band?

Price "I'm massively influenced by Ben Gibbard and Death Cab For Cutie both vocally and lyrically for me anyway. In terms of music we are influenced by old school bands like The Beatles more recently Phoenix, Arcade Fire, Beach House and Granddaddy. We like to take a piece from all those bands combine it together and make one big pie." adding jokingly "One big pie of ripping off other bands." O'Hara "you rip off little pieces of individual bands and nobody realises your ripping them off."

Is this the Death Cab phase then?

Following much laughter Price eventually says "Yes."

So whats next for Kowalski recording wise?

Price "We are just in the process We spent 3 days in the studio before we came down here recording a single for next year."

Where did you record it?

Price "Paddy B works in a music shop with a studio and a warehouse on the back of it and we record in that for free and we rehearse in the warehouse."

Who is producing the single?

Price "We are producing it and engineering it as much as we can ourselves Paddy B is in control of the computer, Logic and stuff like that. We are sending it off to a producer to weave his magic on it."

And who is doing that?

"A guy called Tom McFall he's worked with Jacknife Lee for many years." O'Hara "He's been his righhand man on the last Snow Patrol and REM albums. He's been engineering it and Jacknife Lee has been producing. "He (McFall) produced an album for an Irish band I think it was Director."

Any plans to tour?

Price "We just got back from doing a European tour so we've got a good few months off now and we are going back over to Europe in April possibly and we'll be playing down south February or March Dublin, Limerick, and Galway I think. Galloway's so much fun."

What bands have you played with around Europe?

Price "We opened for Two Door Cinema club in the UK and Ireland in March. Paddy's brother is in Two Door and they have been a great help to us."

There is a similar sound to Two Door Cinema Club on some songs are you worried that you might get tagged with being a sound alike band?

"Thing is we started first they sound like us" says Price knocking that question straight out of the park, much to the delight of the rest of the band "we are both from Bangor" he continues "so that kind of light breezy pop aspect of our music is in common."

And is there a breezy pop scene in Northern Ireland?

Price "It's just us." Paddy C "Belfast is a funny place a few years ago there was loads of bands all doing stuff and all helping each other out And So I Watch You From A Far, Panama Kings General Fiasco and it didn't matter what you were playing we were all in it together but its all died off now The bands are all gone now." Price "The name of the game is to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible."

So whats the goal for the next six moths?

Price "Just to try and build up our fan base and get some people digging our music so we can play bigger shows. then the single will be out March or April hopefully and then we will be touring to support that. Hopefully down south the UK and Europe and try and hit it really hard in the summer try and hopefully do some festivals in Europe we've been in negotiations with some people and hopefully the Irish festivals like Indiependence."

And long term plans?

"All we are trying to do is make a career out of music. We are not trying to be the next Snow Patrol or U2 or anything. We are just trying to make some nice Lo-Fi Indie music" concludes Price.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Evil Uncle Album Launch - The Sugar Club

The O’Sullivan brothers Stephen & Emmett aka Evil Uncle took to the stage of The Sugar Club bathed in blue light, twinned in grey Dillinger style suits and hats sans jacket, for the release of debut album 'Two Lights Not Broken.' the follow up to the 'Songs for the Road' EP released only a matter of months ago. What followed was an evening of free badges, free light bulbs, free crisps, remaking the acquaintance of a famous childhood friend and above all else music for horses and humans.

Starting with the non album slow/fast turn of Builders the first of many comedic moments of social commentary of the night. A tale of being awoken by construction workers, in the height of the Celtic Tiger erection. “Sonic Boom Explosion” cries the memorable chorus. No Great Shakes: “This a song about realising your to good for someone” boasts Stephen to warm applause and laughter “I’m no great shakes your no big deal” is but one of many self deprecating chorus lines.

We are treated to the traditional singer songwriter mouth organ moment on Junkies, a slow death ballad. Bad Habits is reminiscent of criminally overlooked band The Turtles. It's a fine self acceptance love story with excellent harmonies provided by Emmett. Crooked Heart is another dark love song lyrically akin to Babies era Pulp. While Questions has a beautiful picked guitar intro slowly joined by Emmett on bass drum and melodica.

Album Highlight Sunny Day in Space with its up tempo shuffle beat and jovial lyrics is a feel good mix of Supergrass and Super Furry Animals. “Round of applause for DEL” says Stephen as backing tracks of drums and bass are introduced momentarily, while brother Emmett takes stage right, to provide backing vocals and another gentle melodica melody.

It's now time for the interval!!! Free crisps are handed out by the band. The bemused crowd look lost as Worzel Gummidge appears on the stage backdrop. People settle back and watch an entire episode, featuring Barbara Windsor-post Carry On-in what has now become a giant Sunday sitting room, back from the either. This is an ingenious move by Evil Uncle as they have now secured the love and attention of the audience for the rest of the evening.

When Evil Uncle return Gardening a track from previous O’Sullivan brothers incarnation Dwight receives the loudest applause of the night so far. Gardening is a song about a peeping tom who spends the night in a tree, so close yet so far. Its lyrics are perhaps to knowing not to be true.

“It’s easy you’ll pick up the words. It’s like reading the bible” quips Stephen introducing People Like You and the crowd duly sing along for the repeated outro of “We must not be alone.” An excellent cover version of The Everly Brothers almost brings the house down. Before Everyone Wants Something for Nothing a rock and roll wig out on plastic society, now culture ideals. It concludes with Emmett screaming “Everybody wants something for nothing” down a megaphone for its pounding finale. A fist in the air finale to a unique evenings entertainment. Evil Uncle have undertaken a national tour to celebrate the release of 'Two Lights Not Broken' check them out at the very least you may be baffled…

Review: Preachers Son - Love, Life & Limb

Preachers Son is the brainchild of Kila bassist Brian Hogan and former Engine Alley drummer Emmaline Duffy-Fallon. Their debut album 'Love Life & Limb' is a fast paced mix of turbo charged swamp rock with nods to alternative renegades such as Nick Cave & Lou Reed. Hogan has put aside the bass to front Preachers Son on both vocals and guitar. The vocals are delivered mostly in spoken word format. They bare resemblance to the aforementioned Cave and Reed as well as alternative 80's front men like Andrew Eldritch and Wayne Hussey. There is even a resemblance to Bono on several tracks.

26 Years starts the album off with a dirty Jon Spencer Blues Explosion style guitar blast, before we are diverted to unexpected places through the chorus "I don't really believe you when you say you don't care" would comfortably fit into any U2 album. Born Another Time is a dirty swamp blues stomp panting sexually between Nick Cave, The Sisters of Mercy and Personal Jesus, and also contains some excellent tremolo picking by Hogan.

The voice of Emmaline Duffy-Fallon turns Book of love into Beauty and the Beast for grown ups. The sparse noir arrangement is the first of several tracks build on atmosphere, rather than bombast. The Jarvis Cocker-esque sexual paranoia of single X For Sandra-the best of several duets on the album-Is a bobbing blues boogie, sprinkled with some Bowie magic in the choruses "And this is the time that makes me, keeps making me struck with wonder."

This Time of Life has a white soul era Bowie vibe with funky bass running head first into classic rock riffage. On Lipstick Gavin Friday's guest vocal is cast over a classical landscape mixed with avant garde Diamond Dog diversions for clashes with "bimbo bitches." The albums low point arrives with the over cooked cover of Son of A Preacher Man. It's as ill advised as the Jack White-Alicia Keys, James Bond combo.

It's as if an eerie voice-over from the villain in a Western movie gets things back on track with Rain. The words of wisdom are set against accomplished classical and jazz acoustic guitar phrases. Hogan's voice has its second Bono moment on Heaven For The Moment a mix between Albatross style lead guitar parts and Faraway So Close. It is certainly one of the albums highlights especially when it's "staring down the isles of heaven or hell."

It all goes a bit Led Zep for the eastern tinged Should Have Been Gone. A barrage of instruments are underpinned by a pulsating bass riff. This is the albums only nod towards Hogan's traditional roots. But don't let that put you off its more Aleister Crowley than Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Lost My Faith is a rockabilly firestorm, which Imelda May could only dream of producing, complete with super fast wailing guitar solos and on point horns.

This is certainly the most commendable sidebar from Kila any of its members have embarked upon. Thank God Hogan had the sense to stay away from amateurish TG4 X-Factor style judging panels and focus on the creation of music instead. ' Love Life & Limb' is a bold move by Hogan, but he who dares wins.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Duncan Maitland - Whelan's 11/11/2010

Former Picturehouse main man and Pugwash collaborator Duncan Maitland returned to his adopted home of Dublin for his first solo show in Ireland since the release of his critically acclaimed new album 'Lullabies for the 21st Century' which is currently picking up more 9 out of 10's than an Olympic gymnast's wildest dreams.

In the upper saloon of Whelan's of Wexford St. there's no laptop or backing tracks for Duncan Maitland-as is the fashion for solo performers these days-just him and a twelve string guitar. 'Lullabies for the 21st Century' on the other hand is a lush orchestral instrument laden album with lashings of harmonies. So how will this work then?.

Its easy peasy for Maitland as the albums tacit bedrock of acoustic guitar is revealed in all its glory. Your Century is perhaps better live than on the album. Thanks to this more organic -as it was originally written- style of delivery. The folk boogie of Terry the Toad with its excellent chorus of "Everybody's playing it cool" is well received by the audience, containing some excellent vocal ad libs. Maitland also mouths some organ parts throughout the outro.

"You gotta stand out in the rain to get hit by lightning and I'm gonna stand in the rain for this one" Maitland informs us before inticing the audience to hum in a zen like fashion for the George Harrison influenced Horror Stories an excellent mix of 'Revolver' and The Notorious Byrd Brothers physcadelia. Maitland leaves Whelan's awestruck with an immaculate version of the classic David Bowie song Starman. Note perfect subtle and nuanced it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Album highlight Up To You a tale of tested faith, sex and the No.42 is surprisingly masculine live, minus its sombre trumpet intro. Duncan Maitland is accompanied by saxophone for genre spanning Insect Under the Stone which flips between jazz tinged Rat Pack and ELO acid rock. From Bowie to Bobby Darin, Maitland's voice is sensational and truly versatile.

Hybristophilia is a strange theme for a song "I played this in Wisconsin" quips Maitland with a smile before launching into Fan Club an old Picturehouse song which was revamped for Maitland's 'Live Alien EP'. Fan Club is a dark tale of people who are attracted to serial killers like Wisconsin's own Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein. The lyrical syntax is similar to American Psycho and the music echos this, building to a frantic Day in the Life style crescendo. A dark end to an excellent evening.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Jogging - Minutes

Jogging are a power-punk trio. Their debut album 'Minutes' is released through the Richter Collective whose other acts include Adebis Skank, Enemies and Bats.

Jogging reel in dark shadowy images of modern life and cast back scathing social commentary with sharp venomous tongues. The music mirrors this world view. it's fast, frantic, cascading rage, sometimes unhinged but almost always on target.

Opening track Threadbare has a dirty melodic swagger to it. This up tempo drink-to-forget song is a live highlight and features some excellent distorted bass playing by bassist/singer Ronan Jackson. The track cascades to a close with the repeated melody hook of "I can see through you, we will see this through."

A sunkist guitar riff by guitarist/vocalist Darren Craig eases us into Not Simple. A bruising stampede of One Hand Scissor style rock. A reap what you sow tale of jealousy "You made your bed now lie in it. Even if it’s made of old napkins." While the chorus recoils "Everybody's laughing at your weakness, Everybody's laughing at your name." Once again the bass is excellent weaving around the top notch Robert Frippesque guitar solo.

Fostered Foes is frenetic half hepped up Psychobilly instrumental meets Frank Zappa half QOTSA firestorm. It contains the well known but seldom spoken fact that "Cream and bastards rise to top, the rest just gathers down here with the slop." However the delivery of the word "land" is definetly one of the albums low points.

Shattered Knees on the otherhand is one of the album's highlights containing some classy, funky, punk, guitar riffs "It’s two long then two short for too long" is a fine melodic moment. The interplay between the guitar and bass is excellent. Each keenly deploys its own dancing melody before racing the other to the finish line.

The held-back-scream, spoken word delivery of Shape Up Shakedown adds weight to the broken home scenario. Where "Worthless parents couldn’t care for, the welfare of their heirs." While "Bullies carry broken homes. Youth abandoned, youth unknown." Just like a HSE care home? Perhaps theres even a salute to those who have escaped to the streets "You can say, but you don’t know. When you fore-go the umbrella, there’s a certain drenched dignity."

A stadium rock guitar intro, propels Bruises Like Bow-Ties through the verses. The vocals begin with an astute put down "You blew me away, but not in that good way". Before comic self loathing "If I went to punch a window just to prove a point it’d punch back until my eyes crack." descends into self indulgent screamo. A sad outcome from such promising beginnings.

Thankfully normal service is returned on anger biscuit Cleft Chin, Good Heart. Built around two pulsating guitar blasts. Initial lyric "It’s not love, but it’s affection" acts as a decoy before the groove explodes into anger and remorse "I've got blood on my hands."

If you can get past the decidedly teenage, amateur, bedroom squeakiness of the opening barrage of Lifeline you will find a companion piece for Shape Up Shakedown with more prominent bass licks and spoken word cataclysms. While Judas Priest meets post punk Arboriculture on Heartwood. Minutes closes with the aptly titled Curtains a melodic slice of Dinosaur Jr. style Americana.

Jogging nearly have a four star album on their hands. But they have overstretched themselves in places, cramming to many musical ideas in to songs. The drum sound fails to deliver the bombast that the songs require. A failure on the part of the producer no doubt, rather than drummer Paul Lee who obviously displays the ability to meet the challenges of this genre of music. Minutes however, is worth the download fee alone for standout tracks Threadbare & Shattered Knees and we don't believe you'll find a better punk trio around.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: Neosupervital - Battery Power

'Carpe Diem' may have been a more appropriate title for 'Battery Power' the latest album from eighties enthusiast Neosupervital such is the level of pep and can do spirited lyrics contained within its twelve tracks. The songs are heavily influenced by 80's super groups such as Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears and more modern acts such as Daft Punk and Les Rhythm Digitales, spinning tales of love on the dance floor, one night stands, and how self believe will see you through, in the process.

For There's Only This Time an Angus Young style riff is given a full on electronica treatment with Numan synths in the chorus as NSV sings "We gotta do it properly this time." The vocal delivery is akin to 'Much Against Everyone's Advice' era Soulwax. While Dance With You, is an eclectic mix of Herbie Hancock meets OK Go, in a fluffy ode to dance.

Do What You Feel is a summer holiday island dance floor anthem with big bass and funky guitar rhythm figures and a Kenny Loggins style guitar solo. "If you want to be real gotta do what you feel" is a simple but memorable chorus line.

Sun Goes Down is a classic big-hair Depeche Mode style stomper, filled with layered syncopated synths and another sing along chorus. While Instrumental track Then is definitely one for people who still dream of "sand dunes and salty air..." Can't Be On Your Own is pure lovable cheese and even contains the phrase "Danger Zone."

Be Who You Want contains the quintessential 80's pulsing synth line and fractured nonsensical lyrics which somehow work. The influence of Tears For Fears looms large on Sky is Higher, especially on the sound of the lead guitar. This is the best of the more serious sounding songs on the album.

Neosupervital goes bilingual for the half French half English Distant Light. The darkest song on the album it explores the alternative synth landscapes of Talk Talk and Ultravox juxtaposed against a metallic guitar line.

'Battery Power' is an album for fans of 80's movie themes and feel good one hit wonders such as We Close Our Eyes It may be a guilty pleasure for many, but shouldn't be viewed as such. As Neosupervital is a quality songwriter and deserves to recognised as such. Not just celebrated by drunken hordes on the dance floor.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Video: Zombie Cops - Taking LIves

Here is the new video for Taking Lives from the excellent Zombie Cops by Highly Stimulating Productions and its our video of the week.

Review: Sacred Animals - Whelan's 27/10/10

It's been quite a week for Sacred Animals following the release of their debut EP 'Welcome Home' on the Delphi Label. They are currently listed as fourth most blogged about act in the blogosphere in the London Independent. Kanye West is number one. No mean feat for a new band on a fledgling Irish Indie label. We caught them Upstairs at Whelan's following a hectic week of Capital gigs including The Ruby Sessions.

The intimate surroundings perfectly suited tonight's paired down two man incarnation of Sacred Animals. And for tonight's show they chose to do things Stop Making Sense style, as the solitary figure of main man Darragh Nolan takes to the stage for As You Sleep. Nolan delivers the first of many haunting vocals on this dark mournful electric ballad.

Mark Colbert (vocals) joins Nolan on stage for Holy Ghost a song built on an evil grinding guitar riff "Holy Ghost I know your word is strong" belts Nolan as Sacred Animals unleash their secret weapon, Harmonies.

Darragh Nolan's voice is a record producers wet dream: rich, powerful, pitch-perfect and effortless. Add to this the backing of the other Sacred Animals and we have a first class harmony machine, that would surely bring tears to Brian Wilson's eyes.

For the rest of the set Colbert takes his place on drums, sans cymbals, standing upright in the finest indie tradition of The Jesus and Marychain. The bands black and white projections of clouds, lakes and caravan parks cast a large dancing silhouette of Colbert, ensuring he is the visual focal point from now on. Indeed, Nolan seems happy to linger in the shadows and allow his face and songs to convey his emotions.

Backing tracks of synths, white noise and bells join the bombastic live drumming on Still Removed where the eerie spectre of Nolan asks "Whats the point in boxing clever? All I see is all you are. It's the flaws that make the man & you are an imperfect star." Three songs in and the audience is enthralled huddled around the stage hanging on every syllable.

Wired Islands begins with an Eels style keyboard line before Nolan delivers a haunting vocal Thom Yorke would surly approve of "A rest will come, islands less inhabitants, with one eye on the prize, executed plans, pursued by passengers."

Mark Colbert's drums drive us through another, other-worldly sound scape reminiscent of 'Virgin Suicides' era Air on Chosen Seed. "Are you scared of what you said Well you're not the only one." Is a truly dread filled refrain delivered from the shadows by Nolan.

They finish off the set with the title track from their debut EP 'Welcome Home'. A throbbing percussive masterclass of energetic paranoia, aided by long hanging piano chords and a looped "ding dong" bell melody. Welcome Home conjures the claustrophobia of the finest moments of Massive Attack.

Sacred Animals are set for a great future Darragh Nolan has a truly phenomenal voice. Creatively they are already surpassing the output of many of their influences. Mark my words it wont be long before the world worships Sacred Animals.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Evil Uncle: - Songs For The Road EP

As soggy motorists trudged back to the Electric Picnic car park five thousand of them found a surprise underneath their window wipers. The latest EP from Galway singer/songwriter Evil Uncle. The aptly titled 'Songs For The Road' had been lovingly nestled overnight by a craic team of Evil Brothers and Sisters.

Evil Uncle opens this EP with his tongue firmly in his cheek for opening track Gardening. Behind a slightly overdriven arpeggio guitar line the bass plays the melody from Nina Simone's Feeling Good. Gardening is not a feel good song however, as the listener soon discovers, its a meticulous blow by blow account of a peeping toms night up a tree and some may say that the lyrics are a little too knowing not to be true. 

A choir sample you might expect to find in a Sisters of Mercy song weaves in and out as the voyeur recants his experience "I thought of creeping forward And write my name on my breath on your window" being one of the more choice lyrics. The deadpan spoken-word style vocal delivery makes this song ever the more weird and witty. With Its "My Peek At You" chorus the voyeur realises the futility of his actions "And what's it for now darling. All this creeping in your front garden. It doesn't get me close to you It's true."

The shortest song on the EP Something for Nothing is fast paced with several tempo and key changes reminiscent in a way of 'Fuzzy Logic' era Super Furry Animals. The lyrics are once again, full of take it or leave it dry wit. The vocal harmonies and one note stabbing piano lines work really well throughout the song, helping it build at the right moments. I'm not sure if its ironic or just another in-joke, that a song called Something For Nothing is on a free CD.

Junkies Killed My Babies is the most standard formatted song on the EP ie verse chorus guitar solo etc. The originality is all in the narrative about a bereaved man struggling at the loss of his girlfriend to drugs and what may or may not be his personal struggle to get clean, thoughts of suicide, remorse, and what will never be..

Spider Song Sees Evil Uncle spin another unusual narrative, for what at first glance is a song about "Timmy the Spider", is actually a song about being stuck in on a Saturday night, looking desperately for entertainment in every corner of the house. In this song Evil Uncle asks the big question that has divided Veterinarians and Pet Detectives the world over. "Does Timmy Have a Soul?" The EU fails to answer this question but leaves us with the refrain "Hey Timmy you’re so fine, yeah you’re so fine you blow my mind." The influence of Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy can also be felt on this, the undoubted highlight of 'Songs For the Road'.

'Songs For The Road' concludes with Sunny Day in Space a jaunty alt country number. The influence of Gruff Rhys returns and the song is also influenced by Tim Buckley. As well as a sing-along chorus, this song contains some vivid stream of consciousness lyrics "Sausage rolls and landing lights, Foggy breath wire fence shopping feet and mountain side, And the postman’s pocket book is dripping ink all over his bike, Head down, lucky dip, eyes closed ice cold eyes."

The EP flounders where several of the songs contain false starts and noodling endings giving the EP a DIY feel rather than serious studio sheen. 'Songs for the Road' is buy no means perfect but its surely one of the most creative Irish EP's released this year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Kevin On A Bike - Punctured EP

The sleepy hollow of Blessington is an unlikely place to find such a raucous group as Kevin On A Bike. Their latest EP 'Puncture' takes its cues from such rock heavyweights as Metallica, Alice In Chains, and Thin Lizzy.

She Wants Blood starts off with a good Pantera Style guitar riff. The drums are predictably, but necessarily pounding. The chorus is melodic; think Funeral For A Friend meets Bullet For My Valentine circa 2005. Glenn Fitzpatrick's vocals are initially weak, but find momentum from the first chorus onwards. The backing vocals are well thought out and executed and help this song stand out from the rest of the tracks on the EP (The other two main guitar riffs differ greatly and are influenced by Iron Maiden and the Offspring)

Say is an altogether lighter affair. At first listen its a throw away attempt at balladeering, in the mainstream crossover style of Jimmy Eat World and Green Day, but after several listens it begins to stick in your head. However Colin Shirran's overcooked, overlong and largely pointless guitar solo undoes the rest of the bands good work.

With Searching, Kevin On A Bike cross the line from homage of Metallica into imitation of Metallica. This song skirts uncomfortably around Enter Sandman in the verses and choruses. This is a real pity as its Glenn Fitzpatrick's most authentic vocal performance, particularly in the middle eight where he delivers a powerful Layne Staleyesque refrain.

Last and definitely least Don't, is a song of two sides. The verses are so bad even Spinal Tap would be embarrassed. While the chorus shows the initial promise of She Wants Blood. The vocal hook of "Don't kiss me 'til you've made up your mind. Don't touch me 'til you're sure" is immediate, but a serious rewrite is the very least it deserves.

Kevin On A Bike are four accomplished metal musicians struggling to find their own unique sound. A move away from listening to their teenage influences would greatly enhance their sound, allowing them to create rather than imitate.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: Get Back! The Story of The Beatles at The Olympia, Dublin. Wed. 4th of August.

Get Back! The Story of the Beatles is a triumph from the first note till the last. The recreation of the look the sound and sex appeal of the original band is flawless. The look sound and swagger is all there from the innocence of the Cavern Club and That Boy to the strained relationships and infighting of The End.

The show begins with the band silhouetted by a white curtain which raises to reveal John, Paul, George, and Ringo in the Cavern Club dressed in grey suits. The band launch into a feverish version of Twist and Shout followed quickly by Rollover Beethoven and I Saw Her Standing There. The band disappear stage left, as recreated footage of Brian Epstein (played by Chris Nugent) talking about how The Beatles "have star quality" It is at this point the audience realises that the stakes have been raised considerably.

A costume change later and we are transported to Abbey Road recording studios. John, Paul & George record the vocals for Please Please Me, while Ringo reads the paper and drinks a cup of coffee, as a giant black and white backdrop of a record button turns red. Love Me Do is backed by a list of Beatles gigs; photographs of surging crowds, newspaper clippings and recreated footage of the cover band being chased through streets, by hoards of screaming girls.

Next we are treated to news-reels of the actual coverage of The Beatles arriving in America mixed with footage of the cover band. Another suit change, this time into grey again and the band return Rickenbacker's in hand for All My Loving and the fantastic She Loves You.

Fran King is truly amazing as Paul McCartney the reproduction of the vocal tone is exquisite, while the mimicking of face and hand gestures are also to a T. A truly astonishing version of I Wanna Hold Your Hand is followed by more Brian Epstein and rerecorded scenes from A Hard Days Night.

A beautifully shot black and white music video for That Boy precedes another costume change and a visit to Shea Stadium. The band arrive on stage through the audience, much to their delight. The Audience is on its feet for A Hard Days Night which is followed by a fab version of Cant Buy Me Love. Step Forward Ringo aka Binzer (The Frames/ The Swell Season/ Joe Chester/ Gemma Hayes) for I Wanna Be Your Man.

Ringo's moment in the sun over, its back to John and Paul for I Feel Fine and Ticket To Ride. The band depart leaving Paul alone to perform Yesterday much to the delight of the crowd. When the band return John and Ringo have donned shades. George holds a red Gibson SG and Lennon a cream Gibson ES 335, they play a knockout version of Day Tripper. Its time to let George sing a song.

Its the first chance for Rob McKinney to take centre stage. Taxman brings hoots of laughter and lots of applause as "Mr. Wilson and Mr.Heath" are replaced by "Mr. Cowen and Mr. Lennon." The backdrop displays images of The Beatles albums being burnt in America following the infamous "We're bigger than Jesus" Lennon soundbite.

Following a fifteen minute interval the band return to the stage presenting The Beatles "blue period" material. First up is Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise). The crowd go wild as the curtain comes up, to reveal the band, in full period costume as psychedelic imagery cascades from the screen, behind the band. Next stop Penny Lane L18 with stops at Tony Slavin's Barbershop and Penny Lane Cakes and Penny Lane Chips.

John sits behind a suitably psychedelic upright piano for A Day In The Life. His glasses round and his hair edging towards his neck. The video screen shows the front page of The Daily Mail the headline reads "Guinness Heir Dies in Car Crash" The band are now truly into uncharted waters as The Beatles rarely, if ever, preformed this material live. They have a slightly rockier edge than the original records with most of the string and horn parts being playing by John on keys. A Day In The Life receives rapturous applause the loudest of the night so far.

It is followed by more recreated footage of Epstein and the band, as we are informed of his untimely death at the age of just 32. The band depart to leave John, stage right,sitting, knees crossed on the floor. A celestial video sequence starts as he gently strums the opening of Across The Universe on an acoustic guitar. The crowd soon join in for the mantra "jai guru deiva om."

When the band return for Magical Mystery Tour, Ringo looks decidedly like a cross between a Cartoon Sausage Dog and a character from "Trumpton" dressed as he is, in a red plastic coat and a fireman's hat. He sports an extremely well developed moustache too. "Lets do a fruity one" quips John before crashing into an excellent rendition of Strawberry Fields Forever more footage of Liverpool, the fields themselves, cartoon fields and skies, emerge from the video screen. The band kick into another gear for I Am The Walrus the volume swells as George man-handles his guitar into submission.

Cut to the EMI buildings, as the biggest stars of music are being interviewed before the 1967 "Our World" TV extravaganza. "Here comes Keith Moon. Here Comes George Harrison and his wife Patti look here comes Eric Clapton". with a quick joke about "our world looking wonderful tonight" the crowd laughs while the aficionados will chuckle as Clapton steals Harrison's wife halfway up the steps of the EMI building. All You Need Is Love the worlds most popular song in 3/4 time is another sing along triumph. The screes turn black as armies march us into Back In The USSR. While still images of Che Guevara, JFK, Elvis, Hendrix, the patsy Oswald and Bobby Kennedy appear during Revolution as a snarling John is note perfect throughout.

The curtain closes and George gets his second stint in the spotlight as he performs, a well received medley of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun on acoustic guitar. The final costume changes see the band emerge Paul with beard, and black suit. John, long hair, and fur coat. Smoke rises from the chimneys of the specially built roof top set. Get Back has the audience on its feet and the balconies swaying instantly. Hey Jude provokes its usual hysteria. However The End is a well measured surprise that brings the house down once and for all.

Get Back! is much more than a simple tribute band could ever hope to muster. It is a love affair with the music, the time, the characters and the clothes. A decade; cyphered into two joyous hours of the worlds finest band, by the worlds finest tribute act.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: We Are Trees - Boyfriend EP

I love when a band falls in to your lap and here at AIMR we are on a purple patch the fabulous Sacred Animals have led us onto Virgina Beach's We Are Trees. The 'Boyfriend EP' is best described as Bedroom Ephemeral, simple yet dreamy.

In opening track Sunrise Sunset an acoustic guitar hangs in a cloud of effect laden drums and persuasion. James Nee's opening "oh Ha oh" vocals provide the main hook in the song. The vocals are happy-sad, the delivery is a blend of Win Butler and Hayden Thorpe. The music builds to a crescendo with the violin and guitar playing harder and harder.

In Daniel, again a lonesome acoustic guitar precedes a raft of drums; only this time Rocky Capizzi's rustic violin provides the killer hook, not the backing vocals. The influence of Arcade Fire is easy to hear especially when the cello enters the fray.

Dear Chan Marshall begins a more traditional mid tempo folk number, taking its cues from Dylan & Neil Young. A love-lost yarn, skeptical of romance to say the least. Again the chorus is a hum rather than a lyric and we are treated to more alt rock bowing.

Staccato picked violin and cello figures are the bedrock of Final Round wich contains yet another hum along vocal melody. The mix has more emphasis on the lead guitar than in previous songs. This is the quirkiest of all the songs, a strange cross between The Divine Comedy and Fleet Foxes.

'Boyfriend', is available to download, for free, from the bands Bandcamp site and is thoroughly enjoyable. We expect to be impressed once again in the future.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: Pavesi (Myspace review)

Following Pavesi's recent appearance at the King Kong Club in The Village We took it upon ourselves to check out their Myspace. so first things first. Lads, get the web Dr. in your site is unreadable.

You could be listening to any sunkist american indie outfit untill Duck Gallagher starts to sing on East Side the influence of 80's Irish rock such as Something Happens and The Four of Us is obvious while homage is also paid to Brian Adams and the 80's soft rock ballad in general.

Unfortunately they have failed to capture the energy of their live show in the studio.Shake starts of with a guitar line somewhere inbetween Summer of 69 and Nada Surf's Fruit Fly, untill Duck's vocals turn it into a Neil Diamond parody in places. We now know what a Diamond cover of any of the songs from Coldplays 'Parachutes' album would sound like.

Despite Ronan Hana's obvious guitar talent there's no getting away from the feeling that its close but no cigar for Pavesi. The choruses fail to shine as bright as they do live. Its another case of a good live band failing to tame the studio.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review: Sacred Animals Welcome Home EP

Sacred Animals, 'Welcome Home EP' is a hidden gem. This highly secretive band rarely play gigs and little is known of its members. However, since they dropped their debut EP earlier this year, it has spread like wild-fire around Dublin's musical elite and record label interest if said to be fierce.

Welcome Home opens with Wired Islands a cross between The Eels and Radiohead it begins with an "E" style electric piano line, soon joined by strings and a haunting vocal Thom Yorke would surly approve of "A rest will come, islands less inhabitants, with one eye on the prize, executed plans, pursued by passengers."

Chosen Seed is reminiscent of 'Virgin Suicides' era Air a sparse arrangement of arpeggiated guitar, bongos, rim-shots, tambourine and mallets, build a tense sound scape allowing the vocals to wash over us "Are you scared of what you said Well you're not the only one" is a truly dread filled refrain. While title track Welcome Home is built upon a bed of static and percussive sounds looped and long, deep, piano notes, syncopated by a simple bell melody.

Sigur Ros's influence looms large on the final track Still Removed. Once again the lyrics are dark full of self loathing, neurosis, and paranoia "What's the point in boxing clever, All I see is all you are. It's the flaws that make the man & you are an imperfect star."

The intelligent use of different instruments in short bursts throughout all of Sacred Animals songs set them apart from other bands, as does the cryptic mindset of the lyrics 'Welcome Home' is a post apocalypic triumph and better still its avaiable to download free from bandcamp.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: Zombie Cops - Taking Lives (single)

Taking Lives is the second single from Dublin's Zombie Cops is a complete change in tact from the excellent debut Win Some Loose Some. The song builds slowly from a progish 'Down On The Upside' era Soundgarden guitar intro underlayed by a "On a Rope" type rhythm figure.

The call and response vocals of Kevin Fagan and Jamie Hughes work well throughout the entire song. Its back to more familiar musical territory for the verse and choruses as Jimmy Eat World, Open Hand, and Incubus influences are once again apparent. With a touch of Editors guitar trickery the song slows before ending on a flourish with a recap of the main riff.

Zombie Cops launch Taking Lives in Whelan's of Wexford St. Dublin on Friday 6th of August and are also appearing at Danny Byrnes Garden of Music, Festival in Mullingar on Sunday 8th of August. Zombie Cops are worth the admission fee alone for their excellent version of Don't You Want Me Baby.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Cherry Ghost Beneath the Burning Shoreline

'Beneath the Burning Shoreline' is the second album from Lancashire balladeer Simon Aldred released under the moniker of Cherry Ghost. 'Beneath the Burning Shoreline' will cement his reputation as being a songwriters songwriter, but will also set him firmly in the public consciousness beside the likes of Richard Hawley and Paul Weller. Lyrically the songs remain slick, dark, descriptive, wordy and forlorn. They are presented as much more of a band effort than previous album 'Thirst For Romance.' Sonically Cherry Ghost have upped the anti in terms of orchestration and extra instruments, while the core sound has morphed into violent back alley rockabilly.

Opening track We Sleep on Stones is a noir tale delivered with the fine rockabilly precision of The Smiths at their most playful. Feedback lingers behind a military beat and groovy bass as Aldred sneers "We sleep on stones there's a killer in our homes that drags the night in" through the choruses. A Month of Mornings steadily grows from a simple arpeggtiated guitar octave into a dirty Springsteen meets Arcade Fire mid tempo ballad, with sparse guitar and keys drifting in and out of play. The albums title comes from the lyrics of this song "beneath the burning shoreline a month of mornings rain, Oh rolling river keep rolling."

Sure fire single Kissing Strangers is a tail of young love and singledom "been kissing strangers thralling the night sky drinking the bars dry. All is closing in". While Only Mother Could is a self acceptance lament on love; failed, unrequited and consciously denied or otherwise "In time I'll learn to love what only mother could." 

The Night They Buried Sadie Clay is a swirling cinematic highlight Elfmanesque strings fight Western horns while the top notch bassline and drums Whig-out. It is clear by now that Aldred has assembled a band of serious talent the bass and drums are fantastic throughout the album driving each song perfectly while the string arrangements counteract the guitar and keyboards wonderfully.

We are transported to Rome for Barbarini Square where Aldred quips "in a certain light your face could launch a bare knuckle fight" a brutal assessment of any woman or man. Black Fang is a more guitar heavy outing closer to the content of 'Thirst for Romance.'

There a social commentary running throughout the album no more so than in Luddite. The Luddites where a group of textile workers who destroyed labour saving machinery in their factories in the 1800's because they feared these innovations would lead to unemployment (and how wright they where) An unusual subject for a song and one that will surely irk Nicky Wire, for having been beaten to the punch.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Goatboy - Myspace Review

Its hard to believe that Goatboy emerged from the fumbling progish offerings of the Screaming Skies to become one of Ireland's finest singer/songwriters. 

Winter Tears is a fine ballad ephemeral, yet gusty. Akin to Arcade Fire and Bon Ivor. Mark O'Sullivan's rich reverbed vocals resonate beautifully throughout all of his songs, especially so in New Moon where the intelligent mimicking of the harmony vocals by the piano, electric guitar, and strings, build to a very earthy sing-a-long chorus.

With For Your Love its as if James Taylor and Death Cab for Cutie have collaborated in the Bermuda Triangle the juxtaposition of pure country slide guitar led verses and uptempo alt rock guitar choruses shouldn't work, but work they do. 

Japanese City Nights is a fantastic Electro instrumental. The bass and Synth riffs play off each other beautifully and its also the standout track from Indiecator Records World Cup themed compilation "Fastforward".

Goatboy plays Pick for the Picnic at Crawdaddy on the 22nd of July

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review: The Walls: Carrying The Fire (Single)

Carrying The Fire is the first single from The Walls forthcoming third album. And if this is an indicator of their new direction, then the Wall brothers are onto a winner. Carrying The Fire is a quirky mix of influences, including The Killers, The Waterboys, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Mercury Rev. In fact its so far removed from their earlier material that you may struggle to identify them until you hear the unmistakable voice of Steve Wall.

The song is driven by Joe Wall's chugging fuzz bass and the snappy snare drum of Rory Doyle, who is now double jobbing as Bell X1 stick man. The emigration themed lyrics are a timely reminder of how history is repeating itself with another generation of Ireland seemingly lost. However they will thrive once more in foreign lands as previous generations did in America. Their best song since To The Bright and Shining Sun possibly their best ever. The falsetto led chorus is a real treat.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Review: Action Pause Reaction - Rewind EP

Action Pause Reaction display much potential on their debut EP Rewind. The title tack starts of with a drum beat reminiscent of Everlong before Ronan O'leary churns out a riff that Josh Homme would be proud of.

See the Light of Day is a slightly more passive outing akin to Pavement or Jay Mascis and the Fog while Breaking Under the Strain is highly influenced by Northern Ireland's finest punk rock band Therapy? it contains more high tempo chainsaw guitar riffs.

Unfortunately all these fine riffs are lost in muddy mixing and production. The drums especially suffer from a very thin sound. There is no kick to them and the cymbals wash over everything. Studio inexperience and financial restraints have probably stopped this from being a much better end product.
However, a trip to a proper studio with a proper engineer could make them one of the best the rock trios in the land. Until then, go and see them live.