Flea Market Poets describe themselves as a well-travelled oddity: the kind of random, dislocated items you might find on a flea market. You pick out the best ones, and they make the room. The best ones, in this case, consist of a Baltimore via Ireland lead singer, a Donegal art teacher, a metal loving guitarist and other Munich-based rag-tag parts that you could be forgiven for thinking might produce a sound less coherent then a Bangkok cover band. Fortunately you’d be utterly wrong: welcome to an inspired, melodious version of the UN.
Dirty Days is the kind of album that follows a carefree path through indie-themed genres, and sounds exceedingly fresh in doing so. Flick to a random track and you might think you’re listening to a laidback Kooks effort, a driven Wilco number or even REM during a more upbeat moment. It’s an exceptionally well-made record; one that gets away with wearing its influences on its sleeve, as they’re referenced with such skill and wild abandonment that only a true musical scrooge would care.
‘Annie Superstar’ – a homage to the movie Buffalo 66 – is an upbeat take on young love. Acoustic-fuelled and full of lively hope, it’s armed with a poppy chorus that manifests itself the skull for hours after a single listen. In a rare dark moment, downbeat closer ‘Personal Sun’ takes a brutal stab at the Bush regime, while title track ‘Dirty Days’ reeks of a tuneful Snow Patrol number, with the slightest hint of country to the stadium-worthy vocals. ‘Indie Rock Imperative’ and ‘Black Heart’ take a stroll down a highway Doherty and co. helped popularise, the former reveling in the joys of lukewarm beer (well, it’s better than no beer).
If it wasn’t so well constructed, you’d be convinced Flea Market Poets were a band still finding themselves, lost amongst a quagmire of eclectic influences and unable to find a voice, but Dirty Days never edges towards that line. As an album that, for lack of other options, could only be pigeonholed as -pop’ (in the sense that doesn’t make you want a Van Gogh haircut), it’s reassuringly upbeat, lyrically sharp and joyfully varied. There’s never a dull moment.
This assortment of oddities will drop by a select few venues in Ireland in October. On this evidence, be there; one day, you just might want to tell people that you were.