The Vinylheads are the brainchild of Roscommon native Colin Patterson emerging from a wedding jam session with his cousins. From inauspicious beginnings, they’ve managed to gain the attention of BBC’s Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson with their 2014 single Kicks without registering any discernible impact on the Irish music scene.
While it’s lamentable that some acts have to gain attention outside of Ireland before the majority of local media sit up and take notice, The Vinylheads first came to GoldenPlec’s attention late in 2014 when compiling our Lowdown on Monaghan music feature as some of his cousins are from the county.
The aforementioned single Kicks is also the title-track of their debut album. It’s a breezy tale of teenage shenanigans, avoiding the Garda, dancing on roofs and crashing bikes, all grounded with rolling piano layered with Americana style guitars. It’s topped with Colin Patterson’s authoritative vocals and confessional lyrics.
Over the course of ten songs, The Vinylheads take elements of Brit pop circa The Boo Radleys mixed with the Americana tinged rock sensibilities of The Hold Steady. The melding of both styles from opposite sides of the Atlantic is largely successful.
At times, it’s perky and bouncing like a kid on a sugar rush on If I Should and Dream Speed Away before changing gears to more anthemic, atmospheric tunes like To Kill A Giant.
The Vinylheads lose momentum towards the end of the album falling flat with a pair of tracks Rainbow Sky and Everything Under The Sun that are more monochrome and overcast than the multi-coloured extravaganzas of previous tracks.
Listening to ‘Kicks’ it’s easy to see why The Vinylheads caught the attention of much vaunted BBC radio DJ’s. This is an album where the understated melodies and choruses simply hook you in.