It was a surprise, but by no means a shock, when Little Green Cars called it a day. ‘Ephemera’ failed to resonate as strongly as their debut ‘Absolute Zero’, but it was clear that they remained a talented bunch, like many a band who failed to follow-up on the sudden impact of a much-lauded debut.
Shortly after the news emerged that they were indeed working on a third album, an appearance at Other Voices would unexpectedly become their last. The natural questions followed. What went wrong? What happens next?
But rather than the horrendous breakdown in communication and infighting that usually leads to the break-up of a band, it was actually the complete opposite; it was camaraderie. When it became apparent that Stevie Appleby could no longer continue with the band due to health reasons, the group decided that they couldn’t release music under the moniker Little Green Cars without him. A pretty noble gesture.
So, while Soda Blonde may not be the Irish equivalent of Oasis offshoot Beady Eye, there was still the question of whether the chemistry would exist without the fifth element of Appleby. The band took the decision to start small with a single before moving onto an EP. And a wise decision it was – ‘Terrible Hands’ is a beautifully concise snapshot of smooth pop songs which sees Faye O’Rourke step into the limelight with aplomb.
Her powerful vocals were always Little Green Cars’ secret weapon, but there’s nothing secret about them in Soda Blonde. ‘Terrible Hands’ showcases her vocal prowess and lyrical ability, at times echoing Annie Lennox and Kate Bush.
Thematically, many of the songs are about defiance. Don’t Mind Them delivers a powerful, cathartic message to carry on in the face of adversity, as does the title track, Terrible Hands. Vocally, Perfume is the standout moment. O’Rourke’s lovelorn delivery is palpable as the high romance of the melody swirls in the type of ballad that David Bowie used to excel at.
‘Terrible Hands’ is a clever, poignant and beautifully assembled collection of songs. As encores go, this is a hell of a beginning. However, It’s a pity they left out debut single Swimming Through The Night.