by / September 23rd, 2008 /

The Blizzards – Domino Effect

 3/5 Rating

(Universal)

Domino Effect has already gone to number two in the Irish charts since last week. The Mullingar band’s second album and followup to 2006’s A Public Display of Affection was kept off the top spot only by Metallica’s Death Magnetic.

By those standards, this band are the most popular band in Ireland right now. So how does the album stack up? It’s certainly an ambitious, more considered record which takes their sound into more global territory than the debut which lacked distinction at times and dipped into standard pop-rock fare. Niall Breslin’s songwriting on Domino Effect is better, the guitars more singular. It feels like more though has gone into their sound this time around.

Perhaps this can be credited to producer Michael Beinhorn who worked on the band’s debut and who also pushed Breslin to write more honest songs but there’s no doubt the band have certainly reached a plateau with a plethora of catchy hooks on display here. They set our their stall within the first minute of ‘Buy It Sell It’ with the harmonising vocals and syncopated guitar lines. First single ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’ with its “La la la la” backing vocals and frantic vocal pace is even more infuriatingly catchy and State has had it lodged in our brains for the last three weeks after just one airing.

Much of the rest of the album is littered with these kind of sticky hooks: take the story of a snobby girl on ‘Money Can’t Buy You Class’, the Supergrass-esque ‘Three Cheers for Modern Medicine’, the accomplished electronic-leaning ‘Domino Effect’ (complete with robotic vocoder voice!) and the brass-laden ‘Bad Thought’. It’s a short, sharp 30 minutes before we arrive at the closing slow-burning ‘Time to Decide’ which is the closest the band get to Snow Patrol territory.

It’s clear that The Blizzards don’t consider themselves part of any clique judging by the lyrics of the title track – “You wear your skinny jeans and genuflect to scenes that don’t really mean a thing“. It’s also clear that The Blizzards are eager to write good pop songs and judging by Domino Effect and their chart placing, they’ve succeeded 100%.

The Blizzards – ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Youtube

  • For a band the wrong side of 25, the lyrics in most of their songs are the most sexist retrograde thrash I’ve heard recently. And that interview in Hotpress with ahem, brezzie (even his nickname makes him sound like a meathead) revealed him to be a potty-mouthed unlikeable character. He talked about himself in the third person at one point, “you don’t mess with Brez” or something like that, and used, on average, one completely extraneous f-word per line.

    A slightly bigger version of those other oiks, The Coronas. SHUDDER.

  • Not my thing
    It’s a little disturbing that they are so many people’s thing, but shit happens sometimes

  • gardenhead, I haven’t read the interview in question, but all the times I have heard him speak I’ve gotten just the opposite impression: he seems quite laid back and open minded in terms of musics. Maybe he was being facetious? I dunno.

    Anyway, the album was a bit of a let down at first, since their debut is probably my favourite Irish album of the past decade, but it’s grown on me since. I like that they’ve introduced new elements (horns, dance punk grooves) but kept the vital ingredients of their debut.

    3.5/5 is probably right.

  • Would it be churlish of me to suggest that yer man comes across that way due to the interviewer and the accentuation on the drugs and sex, as displayed by the ads on the radio and the cover text on HP?

    JJ interviewed him for the next issue and he came across a normal, nice fellah.

  • Niall, thats a good point, seeing as the only reference he made to drugs in the interview was that he’d “personally fuck” anyone out of the Blizzards who does drugs. Ah, he probably is okay, who am I to judge? The repetitive cursing was just a bit meh.

    Don’t like that single though, not one bit. It is so gimmicky and tailor made for apes going on their J1 it’s not even funny.

  • Not as blatantly aimed towards J1ers as The Coronas it must be said.

    The Coronas – San Diego

    We sleep all day and we drink all night
    We are not wasting our time
    We refuse to hide, we’re going out tonight

    Single in San Diego – 6 weeks just wasting time.
    We moved in with the girls and left it all behind
    So what’s wrong with this life you say it’s not enough,
    What does it feel like? You think you’re better than us.

    ‘Cause we sleep all day and we drink all night
    We are not wasting our time,
    We refuse to hide, we’re going out tonight

    Lonely in San Diego, just don’t let it get you down
    ‘Cause I’ve been there before but I know better now.
    Just one last storm before the calm while we’re still young
    Yeah we know yeah we understand what needs to be done.

  • That’s a decent song though!

  • Depends what you’re into I suppose – it’s rather bland for my tastes to be honest

  • Sean Donegan

    I hear there’s a rather evil piss take hardcore dance remix of that Coronas song knocking around, care to post it up on your blog sometime Niall? Go on….

    As for the Blizzards, I understand the teenage appeal, not for me though. Fair play to them, they’ll probably start earning decentish money with this album

  • Phil

    What stands out for me about the Blizzards is that they have a damn sight more drive and ambition than the majority of Irish bands, which maybe what gets up people’s noses. Niall’s right too, that interviews can often start off with an agenda. I interviewed Breslin a while back and he was a nice guy. Since then of course he’s been pushed into a bizarre world but really it has been only on a domestic level – there seems to be no sign of the UK success that is happening for FLA right now. There’s no reason why their music shouldn’t travel, it is really just pop after all, but maybe they still need to find their own unique spark. Whatever you think of their music, it’s an interesting story.

  • ‘The Reason’ is the best song on the album, great tune. Was never really a fan of The Blizzards, it’s all a bit Lidl Delorentos a lot of the time.

    The whole “I’m trying to get some bird into bed” shtick can get a bit boring too. I wonder what his girlfriend thinks of his lyrics?!

    Still, the dude can bag hooks, no question.

  • Steve Madden

    It’s really interesting what’s cropped up on the web when I typed in The Blizzards, not what I was expecting. Hadn’t really taken much notice of their music over the past few years and to be fair I’ve been in asia for most of this band’s apparent domestic success, but I was intrigued to see them live as my brother had been talking up their live performances. It did not disappoint. What you see from them in a venue is so different to what you hear on the radio, its a pity as they really are great to watch, tight as hell and the energy is unreal. I think we’re all a bunch of begrudgers in this country. Yes I think their music is aimed at a younger market, but yes I found even a 27 yr old fart like myself have a bloody good time.

  • I’m sick of the ‘begrudger’ label being wheeled out when someone articulates that they don’t like something!

  • Hmmmmm…. “begrudger”
    I find that it’s quite possibly one of the most insulting words to emerge from the critical arts. It’s a lazy, kop-out that basically pisses on the intelligence of open minded listeners

  • madra

    cool is this the place ye go to take a pop at established bands that are the only ones achieving anything in this country . Can i join in please… I love these forums. They are so enjoyable. I just want to give ye all a big kiss to cheer ye up.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Madra,

    I would rather be honest and critical about a band – regardless of their status – than slap a stupid smile on my face and pretend that everything is OK.

  • madra

    leigh, i like you. Your feisty. And your grasp of the english language is a credit to you and your parents. well done xxxxx

  • Ehhhh…. OK – thank you (I think).

    For the record, I have no opinion about the record as I haven’t heard it yet, but generally the Blizzard’s aren’t my cup of tea

  • lou lou

    Una’s right the reason is simply a great tune.

  • madra

    the reason rocks alright as does the title track the domino effect… i ve heard some demos from the blizzards that are totally different to this stuff. much more left of centre and weird. Actually really like it its just not as poppy as this. In fairness the blizzards are not my cup of tea either but they do write very good pop songs with hooks and in fairness i have seen them live and they are very impressive to say the least. Maybe, its just me but i hope it goes well for them.

  • Don’t get me wrong.
    Fair play to them and I hope they do well for themselves.

  • madra

    i love rachael allen xxx

  • I am weighing in here again a bit late, but I’d like to meet a point. As a music reviewer I would never rate an Irish band in terms of their commercial success, only whether I like them or not. I think begrudger is a weasel word with enough complicated psychological connotations to do with our national psyche for someone to write an entire PhD.

    I really do not like the Blizzards. Not because I begrudge their success. Rather because I think their music is derivative and their excruciatingly humourless lyrics (trust me I’m a doctor? I wonder if the highly sexist and gynecological subtext was intended or happy accident for a bunch of UCD students?) are carefully scripted to relate to an Irish collegiate mindset (sure bressie himself admits in an interview that he came up with a binch of dark or political songs but was gently reminded by the record label that that’s not what the blizzards do best. write songs about taking viagra, and scoring burds instead). If that makes me a begrudger, then okay I am a begrudger.

  • that should read ‘make’ a point. ahem.

  • madra

    lads lads lads, i thought we had all cheered up around here. Gardenhead we all agreed begrudgery is a filthy horrible word 10 comments ago. Its all good. You should also perhaps listen to the entire record before passing judgement on a band by listening to 1 song. Surely as a reviewer you’ve done this already. Ok they are not your cup of tea nor mine but they are a success and im sure they have worked their asses off . Thats what i respect about them. They ve worked hard. I rather see the good in things and for me they are an impressiuve live act there music is as good as most of the other derivative pop acts around the world so high fives from me…anyone have rachel allens numberxxx

  • madra

    ps…i wish this fecking country was not so pc. Just re read gardenheads comment. cheer up dude…I like your big words but im not intelligent enough to comprehend them . sexiest …thats laughable. im sure the woman of ireland are incensed by these degrading lyrics.

  • I’m not PC, don’t claim to be, would never want to be. I just think it’s pretty dreary affair, writing cynically about scoring birds on holiday as if you were 19 when you are not, just to sell a few extra records because its a formula that worked for the coronas. Now I am not mystic meg, but I am prepared to bet a 100 quid that at some point the lads in the blizzards were advised to have a look at the coronas song san diego and see what made it succeed before coming up with the hilarious lyrics to trust me I’m a doctor.

    The women of Ireland can make their own minds up about the lyrics of the Blizzards I’m sure. In the meantime I’ll lump them into a big bucket of forgettable slop with such other arrestedly developed teengers as Republic of Loose.

  • madra

    i understand where your coming from dude and i was nt just aiming the pc comment at you. its a general thing in ireland… I dont like their new single trust me thingy but im sure your right. There was a fomula behind it. They are a commerical pop act. They need to be on the radio or they will be dropped and this is a radio friendly pop track not the radio played the balls of and hence they sold records this is business after all, but what i would suggest is to listen to the album. there are some very strong tracks totally opposite to the single. My bro bought it was i had a listen . I also would not put them in same vain as the coronas. there is a bit more balls to their stuff. anyway, im off out to do some really un-pc stuff
    cheers

  • Adam

    Have to say I like this album and this band, however I am getting far more enjoyment out of the above discussion. I’d like to see the live version of this heated debate.

  • it can be sorted…
    in a pub…
    somwhere…

  • BallBoy

    Gardenhead for a man who dosnt like the blizzards you seem to be spending alot of time discussing them. Suggesting Bressy was pointed towards the coronas lyrics to influnce trust me im a doctor is ridiculous, maybe if you stopped to listened to the first album you would notice that trust me im a doctor is wrote in simular manner to superdrug and fantasy and even trouble, breslins style of writting has not changed at all since day one but the over sound of the group has changed slighly over the past few years.The only fault i could have for the new album is that it is too short – perhaps a live album would hush alot of sit-in-your-chair critics.

  • Sarah

    I bet the lot of ye are all like old haha!!the blizzards are cool and their “sexist” lyrics don’t offend me at all!you can never really get them until you see them play live the energy is unbelievable!i agree that the album is too short=[ but still a great album all the same!

  • “…I bet the lot of ye are all like old haha!!”

    christ – it’s like 1957 all over again

  • Sarah

    this cumin from somebody who thinks their music is “bland”..the likes of westlife are bland..

  • Westlife are bland, but personally I find that the Blizzards are also a bland act.
    I find it to be very ordinary rock music that could be played by any band anywhere.

  • BallBoy

    Album just gone platinum , nuf said !

  • In a time when the likes of the Killers, Coldplay and Kings of Leon sell bucketloads, that means nothing

  • BallBoy

    Nobody put them up with the likes of them they are only starting to get big now, Kings of Leon have only come big in the last year (4 albums on) clearly you have little or no knowledge of the music industry –

  • ballboy
    what music industry are you listening to? i’ve enough “experience”, thank you very much

  • BallBoy

    Start talking sense then –

  • Fuzzy

    They may not be yer cup of tea, but they certainly are mine! lol, I’m a tad late aren’t I. hehehehe…………..

  • Fuzzy

    Listen Lads, who gives a **** what ye think in all fairness, even if ye are “experienced”, in the long run, it’s what ye like! And I like this so shut the **** up! Thanx

  • Fuzzy

    Oh, and Leigh O’Gorman, you talk a load of shit!

  • Fran

    BEST BAND EVER LIVE!!!!!! Jesus, They’re Just Havin A Laugh and Doing What Every Fella Does On Holidays, Don’t Look So Much Into There Lyrics, Enjoy The Energy and Craic That Goes Along With It!! It’s The Aul Irish Charm, Even If They’re from Westmeath ;)!!