ambulance serif;”>Ireland has garnered deserved fame for the number of stadium rock bands that it has produced over the past 50 or so years, salve as well as many popular artists famed mainly in Europe, sickness yet have just not managed to become recognized in the US. The amount of cult genre-groups in the ‘Emerald Isle’ is quite staggering, so we’ve compiled a breakdown of some of those bands trying to hit the big time, despite the claustrophobia of the Irish music industry.
The recent rise of Mumford and Sons-esque groups, along with the decline in lyric-less ambient music of late, leads to the chin scratching situation of Ireland harbouring a large number of post-rock formations over the recent decade. Among these are the notable God Is An Astronaut of Wicklow’s Glen of the Downs. They are influenced by the ‘King of Ambient’ Brian Eno (who produced several U2 records as well as the new Coldplay album). Their first album, All Is Violent, All Is Bright, depicts the end of the world through its use of guitar effects, without a single evident lyric. The majority of post rock bands enter the industry from American and, surprisingly enough, Scandinavian and Central European countries. The popularity of lyrical post rock bands has also grown since the rise of Sigur Rós and their prevalence in everything from episodes of CSI: Miami and ‘inspirational’ car insurance advertisements. Another notable Irish act, Butterfly Explosion, have toured America, desperately attempting to live up to their icons. Their application of distorted vocals and heavy drum beats can be seen on their debut, Lost Trails.
A more recent project, The Ambience Affair, mix a Brit Pop style similar to that of The Mumfords, but with intense reverb, this being pursued after realising that there are bands in the Republic who can match the intensity of Northern Ireland’s acclaimed …And So I Watch You From Afar. Their new album, Burials, isstriking. Most lyrics seem to be screamed, showing the tension in singer/songwriter Jamie Clarke’s mind and voice.
Another feature of the Irish music scene has been the demise of blues infused rock. Ireland had always received rave-reviews about its music being rooted in the blues. Yet since the death of said genre’s most notable purveyor, Rory Gallagher, in ‘95, no one has really lived up to the high expectations that the Cork man set. One band attempting to put this right are “blooze-rockers”, The Cold 100. The Bray band bring to life the earlier sounds of Led Zeppelin and old-school blues of John Lee Hooker. “We can’t play like The Beatles or the Stones or Led Zeppelin – we can’t sound like those guys, or sing like them – it’s a different time, a different generation. However, we can sound like the sum of them”, says frontman Simon Delaney. This is a group of genuine blokes, and their only wish is for one thing; “Music… and feckin’ lots of it”. Debut single, Red Headed Woman, presents the listener with huge blues licks blended with effective lyrics. New Stories is the most recent release from the unsigned troubadours. In Delaney’s mind, “We’ve no great love for synths and drum machines, we like the human element. The idea of a group of people playing together in a room, all in time, and feeling the sound envelope them – that excites us. That’s why we play our style of music”. Catch them in venues such as Sweeney’s, The Village and The Harbour Bar, they can promise nothing less than an energetic performance of a dying breed of music. Let’s hope they can give it The Blues kick, and bring it back to life.
It’s not to say that these bands haven’t made a great impression on their cult followers and indie listeners, they are simply not receiving the media which they deserve; after all, it’s not just Bono and co. that this country should be famous for.