Beans on Toast is perhaps the perfect example of a modern folk legend. His simple song structure – oft heard at any and all festivals across the land – has told tales of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and, latterly, fatherhood.
Beans – alias Jay Macallister – has made a familiar routine of his album releases; annually, on his birthday (December 1st). His schedule for 2020 includes two releases; ‘Knee Deep in Nostalgia’ and ‘The Unforeseeable Future’. As the titles suggest, the former is a love letter to warm memories and the latter, a collection of musings on the state of the world in 2020.
This single is drawn from the former LP, produced by Frank Turner and featuring a perfectly pleasant folk instrumental. The lyrics (and accompanying music video) tell of days McAllister spends listening to old records with his young daughter.
Settling into domestic bliss has brought out the tenderness in Beans on Toast’s songwriting. There is no greater example than ‘The Album of The Day’. Ably assisted by Turner’s pop sensibilities, this lovely listen more than delivers on its intent to deliver a warm distraction from current events.
Dublin quintet Afterbliss have stormed out of the starting gate with debut single ‘Until Sunrise’. It’s rare for a new band to deliver such an expansive sound from a first offering, but the band have delivered on their promise to pack a pop-rock punch with this tune.
Influences from the likes of The Killers ring through ‘Until Sunrise’, but the similarities are passing more so than an outright imitation. Indeed, this ambitious release is given an extra layer of charm by its rough edges; you can hear the indie production and raw energy through the pop sheen, which really works in the band’s favour here.
Clocking in at nearly 4 minutes long, ‘Until Sunrise’ does lead the listener to a false ending or two, but doesn’t outstay its welcome thanks to the outro’s stirring flourish and synth-symphonics. What comes next from this ambitious group? That’s an exciting prospect, for sure.
It’s straightforward and straight ahead for The Rosadocs, whose latest release runs away much as the title promises. Packed with post-britpop energy and an unrelenting pace, ‘Run Away Instead’ is an indie song that hasn’t forgotten the genre’s punk roots; power chords and a vocal that peaks in an emotive shout sit nicely alongside the sunny guitar and anthemic chorus.
This song doesn’t hit you with idiosyncrasies; indeed, it will be a familiar listen to many indie fans. The composition makes use of classic indie structure, but does so in commanding and catchy fashion. Ultimately, ‘Run Away Instead’ is a release brimming with energy and passion – hopefully the group can channel this as they continue to find their sound.
Often in the current crop of new alt-rockers, the scramble to find an identity can be a difficult one. Many acts have all the tools to take the scene by storm, but haven’t arranged the elements into the right shape. While the new single by Fighting Colours undoubtedly serves up a big sound, there is little to differentiate them from the crowd here.
Over a pleasingly fuzzy but ultimately pedestrian riff, singer Jasmine Ardley moodily delivers lyrics that are clearly aiming to be dark and emotional. Unfortunately, the words can’t shake off the sense of cliché any more than the music. There is energy running through the single, but there is little sense of it going anywhere.
‘To The Bone’ showcases a talented band who could yet create a powerful, vital and unique sound. However, there is unfortunately very little to reward repeat listens just yet.
A nice slice of retro balladry awaits listeners of The New Icons’ new single. The most apparent influences in ‘She Cries Herself To Sleep’ come from psych-era Beatles, but there is a wealth of other sonic movements happening here. The songwriting itself could be from the blue-tinged chamber pop of the early 60s, while the lilting vocal delivery and piano recalls late-era Lennon.
Taking the song on it’s own merits, you will find stirring melodies and a distinct sadness. The retro instrumentation is given a modern vibe by the production, and the track really grows into life as it slips through its 3:30 existence. The almost monotone vocal delivery may take some getting used to, but overall this is a pleasantly melancholic and decidedly vintage listen.