whenyoung at The Workman’s Club, Dublin, on November 2nd 2018.
It’s been an eventful year for whenyoung. They’ve just finished supporting The Vaccines on their European tour following a hectic festival season that saw the Limerick trio opening for the likes of Nick Cave, and now they arrive back in Ireland for three shows in Dublin, Cork and Limerick before heading out across the UK with Blossoms.
However, it’s not all been plain sailing for the group, who found themselves playing at John Reynolds’ funeral upon their return to Ireland. Reynolds had been a great admirer of the group and booked them for his successful new festival All Together Now – a festival which was dedicated to Dolores O’Riordan, whose track Dreams was covered by whenyoung to much acclaim in the wake of her death.
Dreams features in the encore tonight, but whenyoung have plenty of their own songs to push, and push they do, with an energetic display that captivates from the off, with guitarist Niall Burns’ riffs constantly to the fore over Power’s simple but effective basslines. Tracks such as Pretty Pure and Given Up deliver perfectly crafted indie pop with a youthful zeal. Much of their compositions echo the youthful exuberance of Britpop acts such as Catatonia and Sleeper.
However, whenyoung offer much more than frivolous fun – they also take on serious social issues, with tracks such as The Others shining a light on the social commentary neatly threaded throughout Aoife Power’s lyrics.
Their upcoming EP contains just one new track, Sleeper, which showcases a mellower, sonically succinct aspect of the band and captures the attention, indicating that the group’s debut album will offer a greater depth than the pop singles they are currently known for.
The Collector showcases the intimate quirky lilt of Power’s voice in the most obviously Cranberries influenced song in the set, while lesser-known single Actor bristles infectiously enough to indicate that it will become a firm fan favourite in time.
There’s more than enough on display here to indicate that whenyoung could still be doing this when they are old. That is not to say that there isn’t room for improvement, because scarily, for a band so good, whenyoung are still very much in the early stages of their development. That said, so far they are justifying the hype.