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Punk pop is full of colour

I Woke Up and I Was Gone

(1969 Records)


Irish music wasn't in the best of places in 1990. Save for such curios as the fledgling Brian and Engine Alley, there were all manner of jumped-up, self-regarding bands who fancied themselves as the next U2.

It took oddball Dublin outfit The Pale to provide some much-needed levity as well as something that bit different that year with their well-regarded Why Go Bald? EP.

Although it might seem like it, Matthew Devereux & Co never went away. They're happy to release music when the mood takes them and their smartly crafted songs -- often built around the mandolin -- pay little heed to prevailing trends.

This latest album might just convert newcomers to their sound. There's still that undeniable DIY-punk attitude to proceedings, and there's a pop sensibility too. Both facets marry with aplomb on Teenage Jesus -- which boasts the memorable line "I took the crooked road of juvenile delinquency".

Elsewhere, The Boy with the Antlers revels in their trademark mandolin, while Company of Wolves bears many of the hallmarks of Modest Mouse, not least as Devereux and that band's Isaac Brock share the same sort of gruff, no-nonsense vocals.

Key tracks Teenage Jesus; Company of Wolves

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