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Album Review: Otherkin – OK

 
By on Wednesday, 27th September 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Otherkin OK album coverWhile not necessarily anything brand new, Otherkin’s sound is something that’s certainly missing at the moment. A garage brashness that’s not been heard since the likes of The Strokes and The Vines over a decade ago, it’s a throwback to a time we all wish we could revisit. Well, with their debut outing ‘OK’, we can.

When an album opens with screeching reverberation, you know it’s going to hold a wild nature that’ll capture you, and ‘OK’ certainly does. Once the screeching gives way to the urgent drum beat, ‘Treat Me So Bad’ kicks into life with a “let’s go” and a bass line not too dissimilar from Violent Femmes’ ‘Blister in the Sun’, but with a refusal to relent.

It’s this structure that serves them so well throughout, you can’t help but feel like you’re constantly smoking on a street corner, pulling off your finest, ‘give a fuck’ stare. ‘Come On, Hello’, goes for the classic move of repeating the song title throughout the chorus, one that’s worked since the dawn of time, and for good reason. The ability to get that chorus firmly rooted in your head is any band’s greatest asset. I guarantee you’ll have “do it again, come on, hello” ringing around inside your head for days. ‘Ay Ay’ goes for the same strategy. Another hooky chorus that sings about “wanting another hit on the radio”, a straight play from the handbook of early-Noughties’ garage. This is all well and good, but it doesn’t feel like the plays they have lifted are being challenged. Instead, they are just facsimiles. ‘Feel It’ and ‘Yeah, I Know’ once again rinse and repeat the same ideas

It’s ’89’ that brings out a bit more from Otherkin. Immediately less direct, the wandering sound calls back to all of the above but finds new ways of coaxing out the urgency but doesn’t rely wholly upon it. The chorus cascades in with a more focused tempo, paving the way for the crescendo. This is brought forward by a bridge that stays away from any repetitiveness and instead uses its stalking bass line as a propellant.

‘Enabler’ further brings out a bit more of that forward-pushing angle Otherkin sadly stay away from in the first half of this album. ‘Razorhead’, while on the surface it has the same feel as the first half of the album, there’s an underlying approach that feels more carefully thought out, making every second count. The more you listen to ‘OK’, the more you begin to understand that the second half of the record is certainly stronge. Feeling more driven, it shows Otherkin staking their claim to the genre rather than copying others that have come before. ‘Bad Advice’ is the shortest cut on the record, but it gets to everything it needs to without rushing or feeling cramped. There’s a carefree effortlessness that just can’t be planned, like something naturally flowing that just comes out.

‘I Was Born’ continues this better trend, bringing out a side to Otherkin that pushes forward again. Still pretty basic four-on-the-floor rock, but once again it’s a much deeper feeling and understanding that they bring forward that adds a captivating edge. ‘React’ goes for simplicity once more, but finale ‘So So’ is the jewel in the crown of ‘OK’. The longest cut at a little over 5 minutes minutes, it’s a searing powerhouse until it falls away to a glittering guitar line and building drums. You know where this is going. With a blistering roar back into life, ‘So So’ sees this album home with a complete viciousness. All the sounds meld together to form one final behemoth that you almost circles back to the introductory screeching.

Like many rock albums, the fun can begin to wane after a while. Sure, for the first few tracks you’re catapulted back to a time that was as dangerous as it was carefree. But there’s only so much looking backward you can do before you need to eventually move forward. Luckily, Otherkin see that home in the second half of the record, making ‘OK’ a smouldering debut that’ll get you dancing about with reckless abandon in no time.

7/10

‘OK’, the debut album from Dublin rockers Otherkin, will be out on this Friday, the 29th of September on Rubyworks Records. The band will be touring the UK starting the 30th of September through October, some dates supporting InHeaven and others as headline shows of their own. Catch up on all of our past coverage here on TGTF on Otherkin through this link.

 

Video of the Moment #2336: Otherkin

 
By on Friday, 7th April 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Otherkin have a new music video for this week. It’s for the Dublin pop/punk group’s current single ‘Bad Advice’. The song is already receiving support from BBC Radio 1. It’s just one feather in their cap ahead of what will be a busy summer for them. They’ve already been announced for Download and they will also be supporting the legendary Guns ‘n’ Roses at Slane Castle in County Meath. To read our past coverage on TGTF on Otherkin, follow this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWLyo_TSql0[/youtube]

 

Bands to Watch #388: Otherkin

 
By on Monday, 27th June 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Adam McCourt

Luke Reilly, Conor Wynne, David Anthony and Rob Summons make up the vibrant Dublin four-piece Otherkin, who have had quite the ride in the past 18 months. They began as four lads from Dublin, dressed in oversized jumpers, beanie hats and Vans shoes, who started a band for fun. Following a makeover, taking on Doc Martens, black leather and denim jackets, and half unbuttoned shirts, they’re now a well-oiled unit of vigorous rock striving to make it in the industry.

They signed to top Irish indie label Rubyworks in early 2015 after they self-released the rambunctious track ‘Ay, Ay’. By October, they released their debut EP ‘The 201’, and before they knew it, they went from playing the local Dublin live scene to being added to the bill of top Irish and UK festivals including Latitude andLongitude, Reading and Leeds, The Great Escape and Live at Leeds, as well as an extensive 23-date UK and Ireland tour at the end of 2015. You can read a review of their live set as part of Becky’s Live at Leeds 2016 Roundup here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RtFrTmpYrQ[/youtube]

Throughout 2015 and into 2016, the momentum these Dublin lads were garnering only grew, receiving praise and support from the BBC’s top radio DJs Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, as well as having both singles from ‘The 201’, ‘Ay, Ay’ and ‘Feel It’, added to MTV Rocks’ video playlist.

Otherkin have just released their second EP ‘The New Vice’ and what a record it is! Building on their previous works, the new release carries the attitude of early ‘70’s British punk, the humility of their native Irish pop rock, and the charisma of American stadium rock. It is a quartet of pure energy that matches their live shows with in your face thumpers. Perfectly executed singles ‘I Was Born’ and ‘Yeah, I Know’ will leave you quivering in their wake.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3Ithy9EoRY[/youtube]

Their songs are filled to the brim with a wall of guitars, with underlying Queens of the Stone Age-like riffs. Add a layer of raunchy, distorted bass lines and pounding, fast-paced drums that resonate through your chest (think Eagles of Death Metal’s ‘I Want You So Hard’). Finally, top it with a vocal projection on par with Damon Albarn of Blur and lyrical hooks reminiscent to The Ramones’ classic ‘The Blitzkrieg Bop’, and it’s clear to see why Otherkin are off to a rocketing start with no signs of stopping!

‘The New Vice’ is out now on Rubyworks. Be sure to catch Otherkin at one of their many live appearances this summer, including next on 2nd of July at Eurockéennes Festival in France. Other stops this festival season include both Latitude and Longitude, Indiependence, Lowlands in Holland, and Reading and Leeds at the end of August.

 

Live at Leeds 2016 Roundup (Part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 11th May 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

This year, 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of the highly acclaimed city-based festival Live at Leeds. I wasn’t sure what to expect ahead of the day – I’ve attended a number of different festivals in the past, but never Live at Leeds, and never with the intention of writing about it afterwards. After overcoming my own apprehension and a couple of inevitable setbacks on the day, I’d call the endeavour a success, and despite my very sore feet, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

First on my list was Atlantic Shore at The Faversham, the music venue that dates back to 1947 and boasts of having Arctic Monkeys and The Gossip amongst others perform there. I arrived a couple of songs into Atlantic Shore’s set while the crowd was still relatively small. The unsigned band’s music is a mixture of pop, indie and rock, and they have recently been featured on BBC Introducing Merseyside. The band seemed to face a few feedback issues during the set, but they went with it and played a heartfelt set, which included ‘The Comedown’ and ‘Easier’ from the band’s latest extended single release.

Following editor Mary’s preview list ahead of the festival, I did my best to cover as many of those recommendations as possible. This meant that my next stop was to see The Jackobins at Leeds Beckett Stage 2. I arrived about halfway through the set and was immediately blown away by the sheer stage presence of the band. They were evidently having the best time and in control of the room. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a frontman – in the form of Dominic Bassnett, in this case – of an up-and-coming band look more like he was born to be on stage, and with such a powerful voice too. Lead guitarist Veso Mihaylov looked like he would have been happy to continue playing for the rest of the day, and the whole audience was nodding and bopping along.

After The Jackobins I dashed over to the Brudenell Social Club to watch The Velveteens. Their live sound is brasher and denser sounding than the recorded versions of their songs, but it suited the setting well. Included in the set was ’60s surf-sounding single ‘Mister Blackjack’, which is the perfect sound for a crowd to dance along to. The crowd did seem to stick to the back of the room, and had to be encouraged to move closer, which was more a reflection on the layout of the room than the band themselves. The band were comfortable having a chat and playful back and forth with one another on stage, perfectly natural in their environment.

In the neighbouring room, on the Brudenell Social Club’s main stage, Demob Happy only played for approximately 7 minutes, due to getting caught in traffic. But for those two songs Demob Happy performed with a ferocious energy that got the crowd sufficiently hyped up to thoroughly enjoy the set and lament that it couldn’t have gone on for longer. As I left the venue, amongst the group that had just watched the performance, I overheard numerous people saying they wished the band could have played for longer, and a couple of guys even started singing the lyrics to ‘Succubus’. I couldn’t help but agree with them. From the moment the band arrived, as they threw their guitars onto the stage and began hurriedly unravelling cables, the focus was on them, and the minute they started playing the crowd was evidently glad to have stuck around.

Next on my list was Dublin-based Otherkin, which meant a return to Stage 2 at Leeds Beckett. A couple of songs into the set, the enigmatic lead singer Luke Reilly had removed his shirt and was moving about the stage with the confidence of Iggy Pop as he took the occasional swig from a can of Heineken. The band’s edgy pop-rock sound translated well live, with the band playing their popular singles ‘I Was Born’ and ‘Ay Ay’. Looking ahead to a return to the city in late summer, Reilly’s final words to the crowd were, “we’ll see you at Leeds Festival”.

With a few moments to spare before the next band on my list, I managed to pop into the Academy and catch a few of Mystery Jets’ tracks. The room was packed to the rafters, with people jostling about to get a closer view, and dancing and singing along. I managed to hear a couple of songs from their latest album ‘Curve of the Earth’ (’Midnight’s Mirror’ and ‘Blood Red Balloon’) before leaving just after their crowd-pleasing early career megahit ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’. There was evidently a big buzz around the band’s performance, but I was glad to get out of the crowd and return to the outdoors once more.

Keep an eye on TGTF for part 2 of Rebecca’s Live at Leeds 2016 coverage, which is scheduled to post tomorrow.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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