Remember when discovering a band came with an air of mystery? Seeing a group play live and having to walk around asking other people at the gig who this great support act were? Or hearing a song once – just once – on the radio (generally the old, pirate Phantom) and not resting til you discovered who came up with this piece of genius? And from there on you would be evangelical about said band. Telling everyone you knew about them until they either made it, in which case you could rest easy, or they sank without a trace, allowing you to bemoan how unfair the music industry was. Maybe you don’t remember that, maybe these are the rose-tinted rantings of child of the eighties.

Of course we can still discover new bands, but there isn’t a challenge to it anymore. Don’t know who the band are on stage? A quick google search will sort that out. Hadn’t heard that song before? Shazam away. Want to tell everyone about your news favorite band? Facebook and tweet away complete with link to their album. It’s a fool’s game trying to decide whether this new landscape for consuming music is better or worse – it’s just different – but sometimes it’s easy to get nostalgic.

Which in a roundabout way brings us to a debut E.P from Wicklow band Policy, which is currently available for free download. Getting the E.P out to the public is no bother at all anymore. There’s no handing out CD’s, rationing the amount you give to the mother because you know she’s not going to be giving them to anyone with more than a polite interest in the band. It’s easier and better than it was and yet it’s still as hard as ever to gain any traction. How many links do you click on a day? How many articles or video do you read or watch or half-read and half-watch? How often do you actually listen to a brand new E.P by a new, unknown act from start to finish? And there’s so much to listen to? Is it that there are more bands now or just more ways we hear about them? Where do we start?

Like eating an elephant, the trick is to tackle it one bite at a time. So Policy; how are they? They’re promising. You can project all sorts of fantasies onto a band from their debut release: imaging what they could be like. It’s one of the best things about listening to new music. And what could be imagined with these four lads from Wicklow? You could imagine lead vocalist Robert Black’s vocals being spat out to great acclaim in a small, sweaty club, his muttered, punkish delivery undercut by a pleasing fragility. You could imagine the guitar work that delivers five compact, well structured tracks escalating into imaginative jams when played live. You could imagine a lot of people being very pleased they went to see Policy play live. So go listen to Policy when you get a chance. There’s a lot of new music out there to get through but these lads from Kilcoole are as good a place to start as anywhere.

You can download it free here.

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