Flying the flag for Cork
Neon Atlas - Absolute Magnitude (Own release) 3 STARS
Among the Banter talks at last weekend's Kinsale Arts Festival was one on the legacy of Cork's music scene and its health or otherwise today. Well, here's an outfit to ensure that Leeside stays on the map: a labour of love from Kieran Ring and producer Ciaran O'Shea.
Although the pair has cited Ash and Phoenix as influences, much of this confident, accomplished album recalls the softer side of the US grunge movement of two decades or so ago. With fuzzy guitars and highly catchy melodies in plentiful supply, the spirit of The Lemonheads shines through.
Ring is a captivating vocalist and the pair have a finely tuned sense of melody. While it is true that the material can feel terribly derivative at times, their sincerity is never in question – nor is the presence of some fine songs, including Where Are We Now? (which shares its title with David Bowie's comeback single from earlier this year) and Echoes in Your Sleep.
At nine tracks, many of which weigh in at the three-minute mark, Absolute Magnitude is a model of brevity. One senses there's better to come.
KEY TRACKS Where Are We Now?; Echoes in Your Sleep