Autumn Owls – On the Trail of the Disappearing
For the first few moments of A Thousand Blind Windows, I was expecting the ensuing EP to be a draining and morose experience. The track in question is not distinctly memorable, requiring more than a few spins for its intricacies to be revealed. Featuring trademark husky vocals, an experimental base of acoustic guitar and understated keyboards, Autumn Owls turned out to be a pleasant and exciting surprise. These four young Dubliners have skilfully mastered the art of atmospheric and unsettling rock. ‘Raindrops in the River’ ups the ante slightly more than the opener, with the band sounding more professional and comfortable in their own skin. Meanwhile, ‘The Wolf By The Mountain’ is a creeping and lilting number deserving of a better title. ‘Bad Blood’ sees the band display some force, erupting momentarily before swiftly turning into an absorbing and melancholic instrumental worthy of any swansong. Finishing up with the trippy ‘Childhood Slideshow’, On the Trail of the Disappearing easily displays the depth and skill Autumn Owls are capable of. It will be interesting to see how their more haunting moments carry in the live setting. – LH.
The cannily titled Walter Mitty & The Realists are the hotly tipped champions of the Limerick music scene after having countless words of praise bestowed upon them. First track on this EP is the lively ‘Green Light Go’, a song which is defined by undeniable, punky energy and a base of frenetic guitars. Although it is not exactly lyrically complex the overall catchiness makes up for a banal chorus-overkill. In light of the superior tracks to follow this is the least substantial track here. ‘Sucker Punch’, on the other hand, sounds more fully realised and mature, hitting the nail on the head for what the boys do best. ‘Red Is The Number’ is distinct from the preceding numbers and easily conveys the live energy which has brought Walter Mitty & The Realists to the attention of many. Overall, this EP is an adrenaline-fuelled foray into the mindset of a talented outfit with notable potential. – LH.
The Out Last Knights – Lock Me Up
Stoneybatter-based alternative rock outfit The Out Last Knights have bravely released an EP in keeping with the current climate. ‘Lock Me Up’ is tinged with gloom, angst and hints of alienation; perfect for these recessionary times indeed! Undoubtedly influenced by the purveyors of grunge and the Seattle sound, The Out Last Knights have refined their rock roots for this quite polished EP. With a title track resting on lines like “Think I’d rather be dead”Ã‚, The Out Last Knights are shameless in their melodrama but thankfully they have enough musical mettle to back it up. ‘The Mundanities’ continues the theme of despair and mocks the trivialities of modern living. More upbeat than its predecessor, it contains a semi-comic chorus that reveals the origins of the band’s interesting moniker. Although there is nothing particularly ground-breaking about this four-piece, their EP is a consistent and promising sampler and, on the whole, not a bad first step. – LH.
Verona Riots – Blue Room Beta EP
With their subtly sophisticated sound, Verona Riots are a band with an undeniable pulse and the EP Blue Room Beta embodies this perfectly. First track ‘The Mess’ is carried by frontman Ciarj’s burning vocals as he warns “We’re running out of time”Ã‚. Similarly, ‘Dawn Chorus Lines’, features lyrics of heartbreak, contrasting sharply with the buoyant musical backdrop which pushes it along. ‘Shortcuts’ is cut from the same cloth, starting off with markedly deeper vocals before ascending into a catchy and playful plea of “I want you for myself tonight”Ã‚. Verona Riots evoke confidence effortlessly, with songs like ‘Safe’ showing a band who are quietly assured in their sound. Not aiming to set the world alight, Verona Riots seem content to know their niche and excel in it. With Blue Room Beta they have undoubtedly hit the ground running. – LH.
Lanterns on the Lake – Misfortunes & Minor Victories
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne six-piece Lanterns on the Lake cite Bright Eyes and Explosions in the Sky among their influences, and the clash of cultures is quickly evident on ‘A Kingdom’, the lead track to the unsigned band’s latest EP Misfortunes & Minor Victories, as mournful, elongated guitar lines sit uneasily- but strangely gratifyingly – alongside a cotton-pickinÃƒ¢Ã¢’š¬Ã¢’ž¢ banjo line. The group’s overall sound is a bit too conventional to be classified as post-rock: think more Parachutes-era Coldplay, though frontwoman Hazel Wilde’s textured vocals and violinist Sarah Kemp add a little bit of an ethereal edge. Misfortunes & Minor Victories is a welcoming, wistful listen and, provided they add a couple more strings to their bow, a full-length release could be very interesting indeed. – Dave Donnelly.
Listen to Misfortunes & Minor Victories in full via Last.fm.