With the festival season in full swing it’s clear that we’ve entered a fruitful period in Irish music. Acts such as The Villagers and Two Door Cinema Club are leaving substantial fingerprints on the consciousness of the mainstream at home and abroad. Also a hugely promising range of independent acts and now festival staples (Bats, ASIWYFA etc.) are beginning to receive wide acclaim as stars in-waiting. It’s good to see the nation living up to a positive stereotype instead of hopelessly validating the negative ones. A small nation punching well above its weight artistically. Not only are Oddsocks a welcome addition to the party but they are also a testament to the diversity within the scene at present. The Irish do know how to throw a party after all.
It’s a difficult balancing act to create music that’s technically proficient and has a party atmosphere without slipping into the pitfalls of slapstick parody but Oddsocks manage it with ease. From beginning to end ‘There’s Something Going On’ is smooth, assured and effortlessly listenable. With the band’s tongue planted firmly in-cheek they glide through proceeding in a manner in which only seasoned musicians can.
The opener and title-track is perhaps the strongest, coming across like a slightly more pop-tinged Steely Dan, it grooves along with a quiet confidence that is truly engaging. The playing is tight but fluid and most importantly of service to the songs. The peppering of lush harmonies and a genuinely stunning guitar solo also helps keep the party in high spirits. Where lyrically the subject matter is light the attention to detail in the song-writing itself is meticulous and precise.
That’s not to say it’s all perfect. Where the opener exudes an endearing sense of self-satisfaction, ‘What I Got’ sounds more like a frantic flexing of musicality in search of the pocket. When the tone in which they set off is restored however the band manage to see off proceedings in good order.
Perhaps the biggest problem with ‘There’s Something Going On’ is the dilemma most unsigned bands find themselves constrained by. These songs are crying out for a big production. At times the guitars need to be a little smoother, the drums a little slicker and vocally a touch more polished. The fact that the songs shine through such discrepancies is down to the near flawless song-writing on display from four musicians on top of their game.
A cynical mind might say that we’ve seen this type of thing before. After all The Republic of Loose have been giving us slices of funk-fueled pop for over a decade. Such a statement misses the point. Sometimes people don’t want to be profoundly moved by music but instead surrender their inhibitions to a delicious groove over a few drinks. In the times we live in it would take a cynical soul to begrudge anyone such a simple pleasure.