For anyone with even a passing interest in the Irish music scene over the last decade or so the name Gypsies On The Autobahn is likely to ring a bell. Initially gaining exposure, including a spot on RTE’s Other Voices, as far back as eight years ago, the band became frustrated with the lack of opportunities to perform live and decided to retreat to the practice room and regroup. The intervening years were predominantly dedicated to refining existing songs, honing their sound and writing material. A process crystalised on debut record, Born Brief.
Assured, slick and well-crafted Born Brief is a powerful debut full of unique idiosyncrasies that hold hostage your attention. Rhythm is a major part of this record, used to propel the songs along, percussive guitar playing lends itself to the constantly changing dynamic within each song. Instruments clandestinely pair off shifting and manipulating the texture of each song.
‘Torrents’ immediately introduces you to singer James’ falsetto, his off-beat phrasing at once surprising and endearing keeps you guessing throughout the record. It’s one of the songs along with ‘Hidden’ and ‘Five Words’ that may be familiar to listeners already, the rest of the album equals and even occasionally surpasses the undoubted quality of those tunes. ‘Undo Your Dress’ a delicate tale of the maiden voyage into the murky world of bodily fluid exchange is one of the records sparser arrangements but no less striking for it.
‘You Don’t Wanna’ is a song of hope lost in a maelstrom of bleak self-loathing and uncertainty drenched in the sepia tone of beautiful, unashamed vulnerability. Throbbing, pulsating guitar beckons in the perfect pop of ‘Battle’ as its percolating vocal melody descends into an infectious chorus extending a comforting hand of support to the listener, “I know you’re suffering, but you won’t let me in. Don’t fight the war and battle on your own”.
These are concise, well written songs haunted by loss and longing bundled into tight little packages of frenetic energy. It’s been a while in the making but Born Brief may well be the perfect little slice of crossover indie/pop you hear booming from the stereos of ‘N’ plated cars for the next 12 months.