Given how keen the Irish music industry is to shout about those bands from home doing great things overseas, you’d think that The Winter Passing – signed to a US label and frequent touring visitors both there and in the UK, as well receiving love from some pretty heavyweight media outlets – would be a name buzzing around here. It is, in fact, but mainly within the DIY punk community of which the Tipperary / Dublin four piece have become such a driving force. You get the sense that at least half of the audience here at the band’s Double Exposure EP launch are in a band themselves.
In truth, there should be nothing stopping them from expanding beyond their underground roots. Coupling the six new songs with the pick of their excellent debut album A Different Space Of Mind from a couple of years ago, the night is a masterclass in heartfelt punk rock. The emo tag isn’t one that does anyone a lot of favours these days, yet there is a undoubtedly sweet emotional core running through their work. The majority is to be found in the twin lead vocals of siblings Rob and Katie Flynn, bouncing backwards and forwards to give their tales of personal struggles and the determination to win out an extra element – both lyrically and musically. They can knock out three minute punk pop gems with ease (and there are probably few better songwriters in the country right now) but are also capable of taking a sharp turn, evident tonight in a spine tingling ‘Es.cap.ism’.
As befits a band who’ve spent the last couple of years playing anywhere that would have them, nights like this mean a lot. Continual thank you’s and dedications can be often by wearing but the genuine gratitude and sense of community that is demonstrated here would melt even the most cynical heart. They mean it man, and as a rip roaring ‘Daisy’ brings the night to a close it’s clear that it’s only right that The Winter Passing are held in such high regard in their own world. While they’re undoubtedly good enough to take it to a wider audience, some treasures are meant to stay out of sight. For a while anyway.