The Holy Roman Army are primarily Chris and Laura Coffey, a brother and sister act from Co. Carlow but tonight , their first performance in Galway, they are joined by a horn player and a drummer to flesh out their sound. They open with ‘He’s Not Responding’, a perfect example of their dark style of electro-pop complete with sampled strings and drum machines to give the song a sense of light gothicness.
The first half of their set is dominated by dark songs and the band create a moody atmosphere which will later be shattered. Laura’s soothing voice is complimented by the shoegazey vibes she elicits from her guitar while Chris’s own vocals and technical manipulation is reminiscent of The Postal Service.
The army emerge from the darkness with more upbeat tracks using samples and synths to add colour to their songs. An excellent cover of The Pixies’ ‘Wave of Mutilation’ sees Public Enemy- style breakbeats married to blips and beeps.
The decision to occasionally add live instruments was a good one. The horns produce a late night atmosphere and the amazingly precise drummer gives the songs a mechanical feel without constant recourse to drum machines. This gives the band an edge most electro pop outfits lack. Hopefully this will be the first of many visits the band pay to Galway City.
Photo: James Goulden.