Saturday, 23 January 2016

EP: Damsel - Boy on the Rocks

Damsel Boy on the Rocks EP

Damsel - A Break From Breaking Things

Info: Cork act Damsel are an alternative pop band who today release their debut E.P., Boy on the Rocks'they are a new recording and live project fronted by Cork's Luke O'Neill. Formed less than six months ago the band already have a string of fine live performances behind them having opened for  Lisa O'Neill & August Wells  and including a much coveted appearance at last year’s Electric Picnic.' 

I recently caught them at the Front Bar at Whelan's Ones to Watch last weekend following a recommendation and I was very pleased that I was able to enjoy their full set. A friend commented that they reminded them of Dublin band The Chakras, but I felt it was more like a beguiling mix of The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev.

Something that immediately strikes you both live and in recording is O'Neill's unique and shrill vocals, equally at home wooing us on opening track 'A Signal Sent' or reaching higher notes across the remainder of the E.P.. This first track starts with a folk vibe before raising the tone to what felt like a nice slice of Nordic pop to me musically, the melodies, keys and guitar also give an 'Across the Universe' nod too.

Damsel - Through The Fells

'Through The Fells' paints a wide-eyed and wondrous story; 'And the sunshine simmers through the blackened clouds inside your brain, when the tree-line fades into the sky you'll breathe that oxygen, you'll need that oxygen' O'Neill sings before a delicious Pink Floyd-esque guitar solo draws the curtain down. An undoubted highlight comes in the form of the above track 'A Break From Breaking Things', the vocals tremble and quiver, again lyrically O'Neill is witty and poetic in his descriptions, 'You make me age a decade in a day', and this was where I remember getting my Mercury Rev vibes, in particular 'Holes' from Deserter's Songs.

The final track of the 5-song E.P., 'Rubber Knives And Socialites', is wistful and feels like Damsel's most personal number on Boy on the Rocks. It's also a beautifully constructed piece of song-writing, a tired and knowing smile could be more of a grimace as the protagonist runs through a life in the day set of scenes where he is world-weary and despondent. Music like this is what excites me the most and what I hope to discover over the course of a year, it's even more pleasing that it is a debut, and an exceptional piece of song-writing.

You can buy Boy on the Rocks here

Damsel Boy on the Rocks Cover

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