Depending on each individual’s exposure to the live music scene, it can be quite difficult to truly discover new music. And no, not the online “recommended for you” discover, but the “holy shit, who are these guys!?” discovery that occurs only in the real world.
Maybe this is anachronistic by today’s standards, but not so long ago this reviewer experienced the latter in Limerick’s Cobblestone Joe’s. The discovery? My Empire.
Whatever conversation was occurring at the time the four-piece Limerick group kicked off was immediately halted. Who were these guys? The raw energy of unadulterated rock n’ roll is unmistakable. Their main introduction to the world of recorded music was yet to come.
Months later, the release of their first EP ‘Outcasts of a Promised Future’ is imminent. This four-track debut is a powerful reflection of the band’s live capacity, with all the raw energy preserved in the process. It is a worthy homage to the rock n’ roll tradition, especially to those plaid shirt clad kids of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s grunge scene.
The guitar riff that introduces opening track Innocence places the album squarely in the realm of driving anthem rock before lead singer Peter Mullins takes it somewhere else. “Build them up to tear them down now/ Outcasts of a promised future”, he growls as the disillusionment spills over the edges of the melody. His vocals, reminiscent of the earlier style of the late/great Scott Weiland, commands great authority over the lyrical content.
Jaws gradually builds towards a chorus loaded with vain hope and yearning, before finally reaching the apex of these feelings in the bridge “Never gonna get it, no never gonna get it/ Just hold on for one more minute”. The EP is given the closest thing to a ballad on Always There, which in some ways acts as a red herring before the finale of Bring On The Noise.
A menacing riff backed by a pulsing drum beat introduces the most uninhibited rock song the band has to offer. The full weight of the band is used to tremendous effect as Mullins speaks for the outcasts: “We can’t relate to the motherfucking state!”.
The chorus is simple and free from nuance. “Bring on the noise”, he yells, “fuck all the politics!”.
The song is built up only to be broken down to bare bones as the band put the brakes on and reduce the chorus to a whisper. The tension is palpable. One by one the instruments rejoin and the dynamics unfold. Any other song would have been sucked dry by the length of this crescendo, but the listener knows the noise is worth the wait.
There is strength in simplicity. These songs are not pretentious, nor do they aspire to be genre defying. If anything, they try to recapture the essence of something that sometimes feels lost under the weight of “innovation”. Rock n’ roll. Pure and simple. Bring on the noise.
‘Outcasts of a Promised Future’ comes out on 1 December. Cover image by Caleb Purcell.