1Hundred Records maiden release ‘Nua’ is one of potential talent that ultimately falls short of the mark. A number of bands featured appear to be towing a genre line; attempting to recreate a certain sound rather than forge their own.
They do so capably, but such an accomplishment is unlikely to help them carve out a path in an industry that demands originality. The majority of the tracks fail leave a lasting mark on the listener; a fundamental failing in a compilation aiming to expose the listener to new and up and coming artists.
Blades Club sets the bland tone of the record at the outset with an energetic surf-rock tune that could easily feature on a FIFA soundtrack, such is the indifference it inspires. Empty lyrics such as the chorus line ‘I’ll be you and you be me’ compound it’s lifeless tone.
Figure It Out, from Orchid Collective, impresses with intricate instrumentation and strong backing vocals, but ultimately lets itself down with a mind numbingly boring guitar line that takes up far too much of the song and pales in comparison to the gorgeous ‘ooh’ section on the outro. What’s more, the lead vocalist takes on a Luke Pritchard-like affectation; an all too common occurrence in Irish independent music.
Irish vocalists should be seeking to distance themselves from the British indie-pop sound rather than emulate it.
However, there are signs of promise dotted throughout the record. Brendan McGlynn’s Falling is arguably the most unique sounding track on the record; a promising effort from an innovative singer/songwriter infusing electronic and acoustic guitar elements. Its sound is reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club without getting too close to the bone.
Concentrate by Elm is an enjoyable listen, but the track bears such a striking similarity to Keaton Henson that comparisons are unavoidable. The raw electric guitar sound and the quivery vocal are present, but the emotion is not.
Unwound and To The Countryside fittingly bulk out the rest of a disappointing compilation; two songs that could well be b-sides from average established bands across the genres of lo-fi rock and folk-pop. The former demanding a lot from prospective listeners with a minute long intro, the latter over-layering vocal harmonies on an otherwise unremarkable track.
Overall the compilation does little to convince the listener that 1Hundred Records has much to offer; even the standout tracks falling short of distinctive and truly enjoyable music.