Enemies – Alpha Waves EP
Why does Ireland have so many fine instrumental rock bands? The Rednecks, Ten Past Seven, Adebisi Shank, God is an Astronaut yadda yadda yadda. Well it sounds like you can add Enemies to that list. The quickest point of reference for this release is the newest Rednecks material: plenty of high fret playing with soothing, emotive melodies. Each of the 5 tracks here are looooong from six minutes to nearly 10 making a substantial 39 minute dent on your consciousness but there’s loads of twists and turns to keep you going. Plus, with track titles like ‘Two Lads’ and ‘A Blind Cocktail’ you can’t go far wrong.
Buy EP from their Myspace.
The Mighty Stef – Death Threats EP
Stef moves away from The Sins of Sainte Catherine material into more swaggering, blues-country for the title track and it’s the best song he’s done so far. Horns, violins, shimmering guitar and Stef’s sturdy vocal delivery turn this into a rollicking dusty bar number. Tellingly, Stef is joined by some legends on the second track – Ronnie Drew and Flogging Molly for a rendition of the folk song ‘The Mero’. It’s a great mix of old and new voices colliding in a sing-song style. ‘Where the Nightmares Begin’ is a piano-led slow-burner while ‘Romantic Ireland is Dead and Gone’, inspired by some classic Irish graffiti which finishes ‘..It lies with Tupac in the Grave’, finds Stef reminiscing about his past and extholing the virtues of the Clash over piano and harmonica. It’s a step in a quieter direction for Stef and the current incarnation in the evolution of a talented Irish artist.
Video: Death Threats
Buy from Road Records.
Gavin Mulhall – Guided by Lights / Governed by Numbers EP
Mulhall is a Dublin singer-songwriter and this is his debut release. A couple of listens in to this 8-track mini-album and I’m struggling to understand if there is any appeal here. Musically it sounds like a singer-songwriter with a band fare by numbers. The material sways from Jeff Buckley-inspired songs to yearning folk-rock which is fine except all of it has been tried before and is about as inspiring as your average night out in Snaffles nightclub. The major problem is Mulhall’s voice which reaches but it never gets to its destination. Next.
A roundup of Irish EPs out this month featuring The Eclectic, Zing, Le Galaxie, The Things and Chaplin. Including shiny new MP3s!
Suddyn – Letting Go
Judging by their press photos, these guys are super serious. And it turns out to be true. ‘Letting Go’ is a plaintive epic-sounding song with the lines “If I could live again / If I could re-begin / Every day I’d start again / And every night I’d still pretend.“. Yeh, that kind of chart-topping honesty. It follows the formula of hit singles that preceded it with quiet piano parts, a rockin’ building crescendo and soaring vocals. It’s perfect for the US pop charts or Kerrang!-lite so we’re a little bit confused why these New Yorkers are trying their hand at Irish chart success.
More EP reviews next week.