10 OF THE BEST FROM ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN Mar30

10 OF THE BEST FROM ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN...

Arguably the most influential Post Punk band of the eighties: 10 of the best from Liverpool’s Echo and the Bunnymen.

Girls Names – Arms Around A Vision...

Belfast natives Girls Names have been making slow and resolute progress since their formation in 2009. With a clutch of EPs and a brace of albums behind them, third album Arms Around A Vision bears the mark of a band who have finally arrived at a sound that has their own defiant stamp. Their last record ‘The New Life’ was a bold attempt at shifting away from the more generic leanings of their earlier recordings;  Arms Around A Vision is the sound of a band comfortable in their new skin – the discordant jangle of the giddy instrumental album intro segues neatly into the clean lines and Post Punk snarl of ‘Reticence’. ‘An Artificial Spring’ surges forth, a blaze of brash, punkish noise, reminiscent of one of the godfathers of the original Post Punk scene, Magazine. Singer Cathal Cuddy sounds like a graduate of the Nick Cave/Mark E Smith/ Ian Curtis school of rock – he slurs and spits out his words with bags of attitude and more than a little brattish venom. Songs like ‘Desire Oscillations’ and ‘A Hunger Artist’ lock neatly into a pleasing Krautrock groove, while ‘Malaga’ is taut and tightly wound,  ready to cut loose. ‘Dysmorphia’ is drenched in howling feedback, another track that threatens to unleash hell, but is held in check. Throughout the record, the band show a willingness to explore new sonic terrain, to push their sound in different directions, without ever losing their focus. In terms of their contemporaries, the create a noise not too dissimilar to Danish outfit Iceage, drawing from the same pool of influences. What the album might lack in terms of a real standout killer track is more than compensated for by the cohesive, uniform strength of the twelve songs contained here. Arms...

The Twilight Sad Live @ Whelans, Dublin 2nd May 2015...

Scottish outfit The Twilight Sad rolled into town last Saturday to present their own brand of Post Punk miserabilia before a Dublin audience for the first time since 2013. The weather gods could not have chosen a more fitting headline act – the relentlessly gloomy weather seemed rather apt for a band that cite ‘drinking and making miserable music’ as their most enjoyable pursuits on their Twitter bio. Though not a full house, a very respectable crowd turned up at Whelan’s to pay homage – with four very fine albums behind them since forming in 2003, the Twilight Sad are beginning to build up a dedicated live following. Opening with ‘There’s A Girl in The Corner’ from their most recent record, the broodingly powerful ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’,  The Twilight Sad delivered a tight and powerful set, drawing mainly from their new album, but containing a liberal sprinkling of material stretching back to their 2007 debut. Singer James Alexander Graham’s compelling if slightly contrived stage presence provided the main focal point as the band whipped up an impressive maelstrom of Post Punk noise before a very receptive Dublin audience. Graham was moved to remark that the show was ‘exactly what the band needed at this point’ in what seems like a long and arduous tour. The set was well paced, with no discernible lulls and plenty of highlights – ‘Last January’, ‘I Became A Prostitute’ and ‘The Wrong Car’ all raised the roof but it was the trio of songs from their debut album ‘Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters’ that turned out to be the big winners on the night. These three songs proved to be the most dramatic and dynamic songs in the set, with Graham’s voice showcased at its...

Echo and the Bunnymen Live @ The Olympia Theatre, Dublin 18 Feb 2015...

How many of us can pinpoint the exact moment we fell in love with music, the precise point in time when we ceased to be a casual fan and became completely and utterly smitten? For me that moment came on the 7 December 1985. Still in my teens and harbouring a growing interest in music, I went along to the now defunct SFX venue on Dublin’s northside. A live music virgin, Echo and the Bunnymen would be the second gig I ever attended; my previous sole foray having been a particularly uncomfortable night surrounded by screaming teens at a Frankie Goes To Hollywood show. But the Bunnymen represented something different, and that night turned out to be something of a life changing experience. I walked away from that show consumed with the idea of playing in a band; the power and majesty of the Bunnymen that night was the catalyst for me to pick up a guitar, an act that completely altered and shaped the direction my life took for the next 13 years. Given all that, the return of Echo and the Bunnymen to Dublin some thirty years after that show was always going to hold personal significance.  My love affair with their music has endured to this day, but with that, there is always that nervous anxiety around seeing returning idols all these years later. Of the original line-up, only singer Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant remain; the core creative force perhaps, but anyone who witnessed that 85 show will testify to the marked contribution made by bassist Les Pattison and the sadly departed Pete DeFreitas to the bands sound. Some twenty minutes late, the newest incarnation of the Bunnymen take to the Olympia stage – the early signs are promising.  A blistering version of the title track off their...

Iceage – Plowing Into The Field of Love...

Formed in 2008, Danish four piece Iceage started life as a punk band in the purest sense.  Their first two albums New Brigade (2011) and You’re Nothing (2013) were snarling, charmingly retro punk artefacts. What they lacked in maturity and originality was more than made up for by the sheer energy and commitment on show. They had that little something extra, an intensity and self-belief that made them stand out from the crowd of garage band hopefuls. Plowing Into The Field of Love marks a surprising shift in direction – the intensity remains but the endearingly juvenile punk wannabe leanings have been discarded. In its place we get a band that have reinvented themselves. It takes a few listens to de-scramble and figure out what’s going on here; the twists and turns, the tempo changes, the new sounds  but once these songs take root, it makes for their most rewarding album to date. Think early Nick Cave fronting a less competent, more ramshackle Bad Seeds and you get the idea. ‘The Lord’s Favourite’ is rough and ready alt-country while early highlight ‘Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled’ is a sparky combination of rolling drums and Post Punk guitars, singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt making every word sound like a direct threat. The growling bass on ‘Let it Vanish’ ushers in one of a number of songs that change tempo at unexpected points – this is definitely not an album recorded to a click track. ‘Abundant Living’ is a surprisingly brief but memorably effective tune that has a certain Pogues-like quality. Plowing Into the Field marks the end of the bands ‘awkward adolescent’ stage and displays signs of a rapidly developing maturity. It still retains the energy, charm and intensity of their earlier records while striving for...

Bloc Party – Four...

After a four year hiatus and rumours of division, disharmony and imminent collapse, Bloc Party return with one of the year’s most eagerly anticipated releases, the aptly titled Four.  There has been much speculation that this record would see the band return to their Art Rock roots, following the disappointingly lukewarm reception for their criminally underrated third album Intimacy. Intimacy attempted to fuse big beats and electronic elements with their trademark indie guitar sound, a move that seemed to estrange fans and critics and cause friction within the band itself. ‘Four’ marks a very definite return to a more guitar orientated sound – while never quite reaching the dizzy heights of their debut ‘Silent Alarm’ there is still enough clever guitar interplay and sonic invention to satisfy existing fans and newcomers to the band alike. Opening with the bludgeoning riff of ‘So He Begins to Lie’ and the manic pop thrill of ‘3 x3’, we are left in no doubt that this is an album with a unified sense of purpose – gone are the forays into experimental electronic terrain that featured so prominently on ‘Intimacy’ and to a lesser extent on second album ‘Weekend in the City’.  We are back in familiar Bloc Party territory here  –  the more sedate call and response dual  guitars of first single ‘Octopus’ take things down a notch before album highlight ‘Real  Talk’ with its stop start beat and high pitched chorus vocal gives way to ‘Kettling’ and another pulverising riff heavy track. From here on in, the thrills thin out; the second half of the album is a little more patchy with the melodic ‘V.a.l.i.s’  the best on show. Lacking the spiky, Post Punk abandon of ‘Silent Alarm’, the brutally naked honesty of ‘Weekend in the...