Archive for the ‘Math rock’ Tag

Gig: The Cast of Cheers

When I first heard The Cast of Cheers album ‘Chariot’ back in February I considered them one of the most exciting bands in Ireland, after last Friday’s performance in the Roisin Dubh they have made their way to the top of that list.

Excited as I was before the Dublin based math rockers took to the stage I couldn’t help but feel an air of predictability about the set. After all ‘Chariot’ is their only release to date and the band has been gigging pretty solidly since then. What I wasn’t expecting was to encounter new material with the set only three songs old. In fact we were treated to three new tracks and the good news is the latest offerings are every bit as good if not better than what ‘Chariot’ boasts.

While these songs retain an energy level equivalent to a kid at Disneyland after downing a litre of Calpol, they see the band branch out more, experimenting with harmonies and placing a greater emphasis on the vocals of lead singer Conor Adams, whose distinctive growl was flawless live. The impact of these new songs was compounded when Adams revealed to me after the gig that the lyrics have yet to be written and what we witnessed was basically improvisation on his part.

If you’re familiar with The Cast of Cheers you’ll know that their songs are effects laden, fist-pumping anthems that do not stop to take a breath. As such the band simply cannot recreate the many layers of noise live and some is pre-recorded. With pedals being stamped on and buttons being pushed its hard to know what exactly is the product of the foursome’s live endeavours and what is merely a backing track.

What is apparent is that this band comes alive on stage, producing a colossal sound matched by their presence. This was reflected in the number of spectators who made their way in from the bar outside having heard the quality on offer free of charge. Not only that but the crowd was a sea of awkward elbows and knees rising and falling as the infectious music compelled its audience to dance.

2010 has been a landmark year for Irish music and The Cast of Cheers have played their part, now they’ve given something to look forward to in 2011.

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Album: Adebisi Shank – This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank

Adebisi Shank are back with their second LP This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank, it’s nice to see their no-nonsense approach to album titles is unwavering. Already sitting at the forefront of Ireland’s considerable post/math rock scene, Adebisi Shank have given themselves every chance of further international recognition to add to last year’s tours of Japan and the UK with an album that marks a serious jump forward for the band.

While the foundations of their sound; fast, unpredictable, loud, dance provoking, remain intact these have been channelled to create more cohesive songs, adding some degree of method to the madness. Renowned for their chaotic live performances, one tends to think of Adebisi’s music as the soundtrack to anarchy, while they maintain this sound on much of This is the Second… there are notable divergences. (-_-) sees the lads enter unchartered territory, looping glitchy hip-hop beats with laid back guitar and water-like synths creating one hell of a chill out tune midway through the album.

Having cemented a name for themselves on This is the Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank they clearly used this record as a chance to be more expressive and experimental.  For one thing the album has electronics permeating through from start to finish.  This is not to say that the jolting bass and frenetic guitar have been turned down to facilitate a different sound, rather the synths are used to add power to the already formidable punch of the album.

This album represents a step up in Adebisi Shank’s ability as songwriters. They have retained their raw sound, added new dimensions and composed songs with a direction, which don’t fall into the trap of hanging in midair unsure of where to go. Conor O’ Brien chipped in offering vocals which arrive in the form of calming melodies on Frunk and Europa. Logdrum, clocking over six minutes is the giant of the LP. The intro has more than a hint of Animal Collective and the song progresses with subtle tempo changes portraying a patience and craft previously overlooked.

Adebisi are back, they’ve brought all their old tricks with them, but this time they’ve brought a lot more.