In the intimate settings of the Axis Theatre in Ballymun, New Cassette took to the stage as part of LIFT, Ballymun’s Youth Arts Festival.
First up, however, is Cooban, an unsigned Carlow/Dublin odd-rock trifecta. Delivering a no-holds barred set, with bruising percussion drenched in cymbal work and and soulful vocals, the band work well together and carry themselves like professionals. On opening track Upside Out, it’s a struggle to hear some of the impressive guitar work on display with the overwhelming drumbeats. However, everything comes together during the bridge.
Stella has a significantly more pop-punk vibe – the switch between genres and tempos is nicely orchestrated and sees the band exerting more control over their instruments. The chorus has stadium potential, but tuning issues see singer Jack Flaherty thrown off more than once. There is a lot of depth to his vocals, as the lads manage to make a stunning finish with unexpected maturity.
Final track Buckles sees them hit their stride, with biting vocals and perfect pacing. They have began building on the foundations of a future fantastic band, borrowing classic aspects from your favourite rock bands.
Last Cassette’s set is accompanied by seriously impressive visuals made by the band themselves. Frontman Joe Cleere’s voice sounds like that of Rod Stewart and Kelly Jones’ lovechild. These, paired with the soaring, classic Americana rock sound make for a swoon-worthy beginning.
Credit where its due to drummer Mike Stapleton for making the band’s sound explode throughout the tiny venue. Cleere is very obviously experienced as a vocalist, but on songs like Revolution, the vocals get patchy. The guitar chords however, remain seamless and shimmering.
Again, Stapleton’s low barreled driving percussion suits the moody serene harmonies, as Cleere teams with vocalist Zeinab Elguzouli. Lyrically, some red flags are thrown up – “masters students washing dishes all over town” is very The Script-circa-four-years-ago. Despite this, as a group instrumentally, they are very controlled.
Magic Life sees some beautiful piano introduced to the fold, while Cleere puts a fresh spin on this gentle ukulele-led slow burn.
The band reveal their true potential towards the end of the set with powerhouse anthems Austerity and Walking On Eggshells. Storming through the final tracks, they blow through the venue, taking the empty seats with them.
If the band start to veer away from the preachy, soapbox lyrics, New Cassette could certainly be considered ones to watch. Having invested themselves entirely in the set, this unsigned DIY sound swells under the weight of their own ambition. Fingers crossed their potential is realised before they collapse.