As you’ll no doubt know, we like to look forward here at State – making our mission to bring you the best of new Irish music. Sometimes, however, we are fond of reminiscing and so have decided to canvass our team of writers as to the home grown acts that they once loved but who are no longer with us. Some are recent, some from down the years but all have a special place in our hearts. Use the box below for your thoughts, suggestions on what we might have missed and any where are they now updates…
8Ball / Bearbones
A double header to get us underway, 8Ball were on a roll before an ill-judged debut album derailed them. Regrouping – albeit without DJ Kormac – they got back in the groove for 2010’s With All Your Friends before proceeding to call it a day. They remerged as Bearbones the following year, an equally enticing prospect but sadly one that would prove short-lived. (PU)
Although together for 12 years until 1997, Dublin natives A House manage to fly under the radar when mentioning influential Irish bands. Best known for the success of single ‘Endless Art’ and its memorable animated video, unfortunately the band were victims of bad timing with now defunct Setanta Records not being able to afford to put enough copies of the single out to make them as popular as they should be. Still with a tight – knit cult following, this was a band well ahead of their time. (PK)
Combining post rock riffs and rhythms with melodic ideas and frankly blinding vocals, Croupier (pictured) came to our attention with their 2012 self-titled album, honed their live show into something to treasure and took it up a gear with the Visor EP. All of which made their departure in June of this year a surprise and genuine disappointment. (PU)
A frantic, genre mashing quartet from Belfast, Eatenbybears made their mark in Dublin with a memorable HWCH show in 2012. They began 2013 however, not by reaping their just rewards, but by going their separate ways. We did get two new acts out of it though, in the shape of Affleck and The Bedroom. (PU)
Five Go Down To The Sea
Obtuse, angular, an unhinged Kevin Rowland/Billy Mackenzie hybrid fronting a pickled Magic Band, at once beautifully odd and somehow quintessentially eighties. FGDTTS started life in Cork, when Ricky Dineen and Finbar Donnelly met Mick Stack and decided to go again, after their brief, relatively successful tenure in Irish punk rock scenesters Nun Attax. Their anti-rock oddness was by augmented the addition of a cello, and their reputation burgeoned on the back of some crazy live performances.
Like many bands of the time, they went to England seeking their fortune. That’s were you made it, back then. Briefly, post U2’s success, the A&R men came to Dublin looking for the next big thing and thus many bands with potential were drowned by the major labels. Liffeybeat, I think they called it for a while. Back in 1982, however, Ireland was a backwater. The success stories were more exceptions than rules.
Five Go Down To The Sea never released an album, but their three EPs, the final one Singing In Braille released on a nascent Creation records, are well worth hunting down. By the end, their sound was Birthday Party thrash mixed with Donnelly’s mania, and while the madness can feel contrived, there’s no doubting the melodic power in those pipes. After the last EP the band changed their name to Beethoven. One NME single of the week later, it was tragically over. Finbarr Donnelly accidentally drowned in Hyde Park at the age of 27, bequeathing an all too brief legacy that deserves recognition. (DH)