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NI Music Summary – May 2019

Noelle Ellis: This month I am especially reminded of the vast melting pot of musical genres Northern Ireland has to offer. From tried and true rock riffs to some calculated risks that pay off. May’s sampling includes releases by Pascalwillnotsurvivethis, Dea Matrona, All the Few, Lonely Astronauts, and Mitch McAteer.

Lost At Sea ★ ★ ★

Pascalwillnotsurvivethis: The title, Lost At Sea references the themes of feeling adrift found throughout each track. Personal and plucky, this stylishly adventurous EP delivers. Contemporaneous in subject matter, touching on depression and mental illness, McClelland finds a playful way to keep the conversation going. Infectious rhythms play along well with McClelland’s quirky vocal style.

The track you want is Jeff. The snappy, streamlined grooves had me at first listen. And it should be noted the sweet bass riffs on this cut. Hey Bud is patterned with more post punk sensibilities, a bit more scuffed around the edges without losing signature bounciness. Catchy as it is compelling, Lost At Sea is disposed to become a fast favorite.

Armageddon ★ ★

All The Few: Belfast duo, All The Few have released single, Armageddon. Though you may argue it’s not exactly a middling debut. With some collective creds between them, (Ruairi and The Owls, Glass Wings, and Sohara) All The Few’s Sean O’Hara and Michael Hamill present polished and professional arrangements of jangly guitar pop with articulate lyrics.

Eloquent harmonies lead to an impressive bridge. And yes, you will find yourself singing along the refrain, ‘Armageddon’ in all its melodious splendor.

Away From the Tides ★ ★ ★

Dea Matrona: You may have been introduced to them last October in our Get To Know feature, or perhaps you’ve seen them busking about Belfast. The trio known as Dea Matrona (formerly known as Orlaith and Mollie) have a new EP to go with their new name.

Away From the Tides is vocal pop with allusions to rock and roll. Spritely melodies bring to mind The Coors, or perhaps The Dixie Chicks-sans the American southern drawl. Album title ‘away from the tides’ is lifted from a line in the single Siren Song. An enjoyable crack at Celtic chick rock, with some tidy guitar licks to boot.

The track you want is Car Boot Sale that charms with its perky pop rock and hues of 60’s girl group. Talented musicians with great voices. They’ve got the goods to bring it but somewhat lacking in rock’s signature edge. For as many mentions to rock and roll as these tracks portray, this collection is a bit squeaky clean. I’d like to see a little grit beneath the fingernails.

I Hate That I Love You ★ ★ ★

Mitch McAteer: This track pens with a slow blues burn. A bit gruff and a bit folksy to begin with. But then almost unexpectedly is fueled by a hard whiskey growl that neighbors on grunge.

It’s Johnny Cash meets Eddie Vedder, with some distinct Celtic accents showing through. This is good, old fashioned rock ‘n roll complete with a satisfying old school guitar solo.

On Your Mind ★ ★ ★

Lonely Astronauts: Debut single from the Belfast three-piece is back to basics, no frills rock song. A rock ballad peppered with riffs that lean toward metal.

Nobody is reinventing the wheel here. This is straight forward, entertaining rock music. Simple as. Steadfast in style and delivery they make no apologies for using a formula that works.

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NI Music Editor, Gigging Northern Ireland