Tuesday 16 January 2018

Cry Monster Cry: Brothers teach Bruce to dance in the dark

CRY MONSTER CRY: Richie and Jamie Martin in Windmill Lane Studios. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
CRY MONSTER CRY: Richie and Jamie Martin in Windmill Lane Studios. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

'He's like a man with a fork, in a world of fucking soup," Noel Gallagher once said of his little brother Liam. Sadly, most of what Liam has said about Noel is unprintable in a family newspaper.

Boys will be boys, and brothers will be brothers, but shaven-headed Richie Martin doesn't bitch in the way the Gallagher siblings do. In fact ,the 30-year-old is quite the gentleman, speaking of his brother Jamie, four years his junior: "He is very, very loyal. Quiet. And quiet thinking."

"You'd be more outgoing than me," Jamie says of Richie with whom he formed the much-trumpeted Cry Monster Cry in 2010. "I think our personalities and what we bring to the table really match our musical abilities," says Jamie.

"Richie has always played music, always been in and out of bands and has studied songwriting.

"I always looked up to him, obviously. Big brother plays guitar - so you want to play guitar. I went off and did English Literature. So we sort of melded the two together in terms of writing lyrics and songs."

Cry Monster Cry, the two brothers from Sutton, are causing a certain frisson, not just with their debut album Rhythm Of Dawn - which they say is about the spiritual and physical journey "from night to day" - but also at the Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie

Their cover of Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen is, even allowing for hyperbole, supremely intriguing.

Watch it and tell me otherwise; tell me it isn't eclectic.

This singular sense of eclecticism is reflected deeply in the aforementioned Rhythm Of Dawn (and doubtless in the two young men themselves).

"There is everything from African tribal beats to synthesisers and banjos and electric guitars all mixed in!" Jamie says of the new album.

"It took us about a year and a half to record after our first EP," he says, referring to The Fallen, which was released in 2012. "So we decided to start fresh with Rhythm Of Dawn.

"We had a couple of ideas that we bounced around. Our early influences would be like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and sort of folk-based music."

Their mother and father's (Cait and Dick Martin) record collection, I suggest?

"Pretty much," smiles Jamie, recalling where their special songcraft came from. "We were lucky and privileged because our mother is from Donegal," he explains.

"Every summer it was long journeys up, sitting in the back of the car and listening to cassettes of everything from Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers and Billie Holiday. A seven-year-old and a 10-year old singing along to Bob Marley!"

Richie explains where the name Cry Monster Cry came from, saying they primarily wanting to strike the imagination with a good name.

"We were reading books on children's folklore at the time," says Richie. "It comes from the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. We thought about wolves, but for some reason we decided to settle on monsters."

"I think we like the dual part of it," adds Jamie. "You can look at it as crying out as a monster, but also the monster could be crying. There is a softer side to everyone. They have a dark and light side."

"Personally," says Richie, "I was going through a thing whereby you realise you spend half your time trying to hide your inner persona from the world."

All this philosophical searching, of course, unearthed something potent and real with Rhythm Of Dawn.

"The record took a long time. We questioned ourselves how we were going to do it."

From listening to Rhythm Of Dawn, most discerning music fans will be glad Richie and Jamie found the answers.

To hear the full interview with Cry Monster Cry, plus two exclusive performances, see independent.ie/windmill For tour dates and news, see crymonstercry.com

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