Break out your auto-reverse Walkman and your AA batteries for physical debut from Galway’s Oh Boland and Mayo’s Me and My Dog. This joint release, brought to you by exciting Dublin-based music collective Popical Island, comes as a limited edition casette (and for the less adventurous as a downloaded via Bandcamp).
Side A (yes, that’s how it used to work) belongs to Oh Boland. Opener Tidy Is is a thundering indie rock track that could easily have been lifted from the opening credits of your next favourite cult film. Crashing drums and rumbling guitars give it a very full sound, and the super twangy guitar solo towards the end seals the deal. Home Truths is a slower affair, with a memorable riff and brooding vocal.
The remaining tracks do sound fairly similar, but in a consistent rather than repetitive way. This is a band that has a pretty clear idea of what their sound achieves. Their wandering vocal melodies are raw but confident, and their slightly-off harmonies sound properly rock-and-roll.
Flip that tape over to side B and you’ll find Me and My Dog. A little known fact: frontman Luke Healy was actually a founding member of The Beach Boys. You might not believe that blatant lie, but opening song Change Of Mind will have you doubting yourself. This infectious surf-pop track will get you tapping your foot politely and partying (sensibly) like it’s 1963.
Of the other four on offer, it would be hard to pick a weak song, and even harder to pick a favourite. The latter title would probably go to The Scenic Route: two and a half minutes of blissful indie-pop, with lyrically simple but cynical verses running into a carefree chorus. In terms of production quality, these songs sound like demos, albeit excellent demos. With a full studio recording to their name, there’s nothing that would stop Me and My Dog from invading Irish airwaves.
Though both acts hail from Connaught, the overall sound of the album is distinctly American west coast, rather than West of Ireland. A very well paired dual offering, both of these bands are at similar stages of development, showing real potential. Expect more stellar indie classics from these promising country lads.