Review: Hvmmingbyrd – EP ‘Know My Name’

Electronic-folk duo Hvmmingbyrd released their new EP Know My Name on September 16th, 2016. It was was co-produced with Aishling Jarvis, and Hvmmingbyrd consists of Deborah Byrne (vocals, guitar, drum machine) and Suzette Das (vocals, synth, loop machine).

The first track ‘If Love Was Enough’ was released in July. It’s a sensual, dated, pop track and deals with a gloomy theme surrounded with an intense sound. Irish radio stations picked up on the single and their music video features Eoin Macken (NBC’s The Night Shift actor). On this single, the duo shows off their performance set up with their vocal harmonies, guitar, vocal loops, drum machine, and percussion.

Their effortless harmonies and talent are defined throughout the EP. Their vocals are rich and smooth, and they intertwine with the classic melodies making the record a restful listen. The stripped back vocals and instrumental styles come together as one wonderful piece of work. Das’ and Byrne’s natural adaptation in their songwriting partnership is greatly noticed, both musically and lyrically.

The five tracks weave in and out of the atmospheric synths and beats combining their enchanting vocals. The duo certainly had a plan when writing the EP and pulled it together with self-confidence. Throughout the EP, the listener can hear a few influences like elements from Madonna, Ace of Base and Massive Attack. They’re headed in a different direction completely as the band has changed tastes from their early folk days to now making the music they want.

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‘Never’ gives off the sense of their new confident side with their vocal harmonies and production style. In this track, there is an electronic backdrop adding a new layer separating the duo from other groups like themselves in the genre.

Know My Name embarks the band’s new journey with their music. They have crafted something unique with this record. It’s a pleasurable and stunning listen, emphasising Hvmmingbyrd’s rare talent. They aren’t playing it safe sticking to their beginning routes, but instead changing direction.

Check out Know My Name on Spotify and Itunes.


Words by by Danielle Holian

Review: Nigel Barnes ‘The Clearing’

nigel-barnes-the-clearingNigel Barnes is the drummer of pop punk band Don Blake and has gone solo to release his album The Clearing, via Bandcamp, earlier this year. He wrote, performed, recorded, and mixed the entire album himself, apart from one cover of Regina Spektor‘s ‘All The Rowboats’.

The Clearing is a D.I.Y 10-track album recorded in four months. Barnes has said the record is “emo-tinged-indie-punk-with-elements-of-pop.” There is a variety of slower and upbeat tunes with themes like nostalgia, mental health issues, and addiction, regrets, personal experiences with a bit of hope, too.

Track 1 ‘My Future Self’ is summery and very pop punk. It paints an image of looking in another direction in life and having no worries about what’s next because things will always turn out better than expected. It begins acoustically, then slowy adding the electric guitars and drums lifting the mood of the tune. It’s a memorable tune of pop power.

The title track is a conversation between the present and future Barnes. It details the negative thinking of expecting the worst in life with him singing, “You’re always dwelling on the past that’s been and gone, and you keep on looking to the things that might go wrong”. The melody of the vocals is enchanting. The lyrics really carry the song until the end with its great choruses.

The following tracks ‘Sun, Come Back’ and ‘No Stars’ really make the album a whole. It showcases Barnes’s full potential as a songwriter. In ‘Sun, Come Back’ he reassures himself as he optimistically singing, “You know that you’re not alone and this feeling will go.” ‘No Stars’ begins slow before rushing into the bluesy rock with a great replay chorus with a wonderful guitar riff. It deals with a different element of his personality; addiction. It’s a more personal track compared to the rest of the record. There’s a little stubbornness throughout the tune as well as a lot of personal growth and realizing life’s worth it in the end. The vocals are stripped back and you feel a lot of emotion. There is a balance of sorrow and hope with the recognition of positivity and knowledge that the good days are ahead. The stories in every song are quite sad but beautiful.

The last track on the record feels almost like a goodbye song, with his raw talent, showcased again with the great lyricism and instrumentation. It’s an excellent album not only on his songwriting ability and performance but on his producing part. Barnes has poured his heart into The Clearing which as a whole brings the listener on a journey. There’s never a moment of boredom. It’s a refreshing record. Each song is beautifully written. It deserves a few listens.

Stream The Clearing here.


 

Words by Danielle Holian

 

Review: Boom Child ‘The Super Edible EP’

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My introduction to Boom Child was at a gig when they supported Popgun Warfare’s EP launch, and to sum them up they are crazy, chaotic, and fun. Go see them live if you get a chance. They released their new 5 track EP The Super Edible EP in June. They claim it’s the first “100% edible music format.”  Their lyrics are witty and clever and the music is catchy as hell. I’m at a loss of who to compare them to, but they have hints of punk, funk, and pop.

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Review: The Split Seconds

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DC based foursome The Split Seconds released their self-titled album on the 8th of July via Holy Mother Records. All of the proceeds from the digital sales are donated to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. They bring a 90s/70s cross-pop-punk sound that will leave you feeling nostalgic and pumped up. The Split Seconds also dabble in some other areas, there’s a sense of California surf punk and grunge thrown in there too, in very small doses.

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Picture This at Sea Sessions

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It’s amazing what these guys have achieved in such a short amount of time. Their very first Academy gig sold out extremely quickly, and they’ve continued selling out shows since, including three shows at the Olympia in November, and after seeing them at Sea Sessions it’s easy to see why. Not only do they have catchy, well-crafted, uplifting songs, but their stage show is infectiously fun.

Their success is definitely well-earned and well-deserved, in fact the highlight of the whole festival came at the end of their set when they launched into ‘Take My Hand’. The whole tent sang along at the top of their lungs, and made more noise than for some of the headliners. Despite the hundreds of people watching, the moment felt intimate and powerful. We caught up with them after the show and it’s clear they’re taking their achievements in their stride and are nothing but humble about the whole thing.

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Penrose at Sea Sessions

Penrose (along with Roisin El Cherif) won their spot at Sea Sessions via the Unsigned Sessions competition where they won out of around 400 entries. Penrose are an indie rock/ brit-pop band that formed in 2013 and their debut EP Living For The Dream reached no.3 in the Irish Charts. They’ll hopefully be releasing a new album in 2017.

We got to see them play on the Saturday of the Sea Sessions festival in Bundoran a few weeks ago. Penrose are the perfect festival band, their catchy brand of indie rock has a hint of 90s britpop that transports you back to the summer days of youth.

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Their enjoyment on stage is obvious and infectious, it’s hard to stay still while watching them, and their choruses are easy and fun to sing along to. We caught up with them before their performance on the Saturday and had a chat:

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Review: Attack The Day ‘Felons’

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Attack The Day released their 5 track EP Felons in April and launched it with a gig on May 20th.  Felons is 17 minutes of varying genres; they flit between grunge, punk, alternative metal, with vocals leaning on the post-hardcore side of things. But they manage this without sounding too disjointed or overwhelming. The snarly vocals are drenched in attitude and passion. The guitars solidify the EP and tie everything together, and there’s a few enjoyable guitar solos dotted around the place.

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