Launching the follow-up to their Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards, We Cut Corners are facing a dilemma common to many before them. In this case, however, it’s not a case of difficult, but magnificent, second album syndrome and how to interpret it on stage. With Think Nothing, John Duignan and Conall Ó Breacháin have expanded on their original premise with dazzling results. Not that they’ve done it alone, mind, calling in production and musical expertise to help them realise their vision.
Tonight though it’s just the two of them, albeit presented in a swish, business meaning form. The stage is adorned with backdrops and hangings, drum kit sat atop a imposing riser and the PA crisp and clear. As has been their wont, they veer between quiet and loud with ease. It’s the former moments that particularly draw you in, Ó Breacháin stepping down from on high the signal for the crowd to stop chatting and pay attention. You can hear a pin drop during ‘A Pirate’s Life’ and ‘Dumb Blonde’, all the better for the clever world play to work its magic.
What’s missing is the middle ground, so artfully explored on Think Nothing. Before ‘Maybe In The Future’, the drummer asks us to imagine strings on the track. Given that not so long ago they played a show at their old college with a live quartet, you wonder why they didn’t repeat it here. The song still stops you in your tracks of course, but hearing it in its complete form would have been the icing on the cake. There are indications of how they might develop, with little keyboard flourishes adding nice dashes of colour.
As it is, the duo tear through rousing versions of ‘YKK’, ‘Blue’, ‘The Leopard’ and ‘Go Easy’, take their bow with wide grins and the overall feeling is a desire to go home and listen to the record again – surely the main aim of a launch night after all. Think Nothing may have left the majority of their peers playing catch up but it also seems that We Cut Corners themselves will need to work out how to keep pace with their own creativity.
Photo: Derek Kennedy