Debut EP ‘No One Knows We’re Here’ from Dundalk lads RichardRichard delivers on the promise glimpsed in previous output, such as Afro Caribbean Love Song, and boasts a set of well-crafted songs with an ear for infectious melody.
Faces opens with an almost post-rock rumble before detouring into a treble-y guitar driven dance number. It’s a fantastic exercise in rhythmic rock; a radio-friendly tune with a riff and vocal line that manage to get stuck in your head within seconds, the chorus’ shift kept catchy by the backing vocal.
RichardRichard seem to like confounding the listener’s expectations. This is blatant during the songs’ intros; setting a rhythm or form, then taking it a different direction, such as Laughing At Me‘s four-to-the-floor beat stomps into a shiny, galloping guitar line. The song’s capital-P pop chorus melody being viscerally roared out at the songs close is also pitch-perfect. Similarly, We Can Talk Tomorrow has some good shouty-bits and is certainly a decent, hook-laden tune, even if lyrics like “open up your mind” seem a little stale.
What marks RichardRichard as distinct is there sense of balance between danceable rhythms and guitar-rock. Picture Vampire Weekend listening to Queens of the Stone Age. The balance is struck, and while you might find yourself rocking your head here and there, there is an emphasis on movement in each song.
Who’s To Blame has a melody evocative of early-nineties radio rock, and though it is well written, it is also driven largely by the vocal melody, which seems to stretch the limits of Francis Watters’ vocal range; though never breaking, his voice sounds as though it trembles on the chorus. Song for the Others ends the record strong though, it’s bass-line insistent and anchored by thumping drums, it’s hooks reminiscent of mid-career Red Hot Chili Peppers.
There are catches of influence to be spotted, a little Pulp here, a bit of Bloc Party there; but overall the band’s sound comes across as stylistically organic rather than constructed or imitated. A strong debut, and while Faces would seem the obvious single, each song on here stands on its own two legs.