Like Paul O’Connell with a blonde surfer’s mop, Steve Robinson is not the kind of guy whose pint you’d nick. Six-foot stupid tall, he makes a telecaster look like a ukulele, and dwarfs half-Swedish, half-Iraqi bassist Denise Roxenhamn (real name Denise Roxenhamn).
I should also mention he writes very good hard-rock pop songs of the sort once provided to decent society by U.S. groups like Weezer, the Pumpkins and early Foo Fighters. Another band who used to do it were the terrific Angels of Mons, but that’s probably because Steve Robinson was in them. Fresh from a head-turning set at SXSW Festival, this debut sees The Laundry Shop officially begin their assault on the planet, a battle the Dublin-based group have no interest in confining to these shores alone. Their ambitions are not out of order either given the three-piece have a particularly international bent and sound. The accent is neutral (Robinson can warble and sigh like Eliot Smith or bark like Dave Grohl), the themes are universal (good times, bad times, chicks) and tender moments burn slowly before giving way to crunchy wholegrain rawk riffs. What’s not to like?
-Highs And Lows’, the most familiar track here, has been done a disservice by that Discover Ireland ad – a frantic, confused proclamation is rendered as some glib rock high-five instead. In that respect, the full version will be a nice surprise. Meanwhile, the title track is a quick, eventful adventure of a tune, whereas ‘The Fairy Lake’s’ sludgy riff and soaring melody were designed to make heads nod slowly.
You’d be forgiven for thinking The Laundry Shop are stuck in the early-to-mid nineties, but somehow they’ve managed to gleam the best parts of that era while leaving the cheese and adding a whole height of personality to the heritage. They’ve yet to have their finest hour, but what a way to kick things off.